Sauter emerges victorious in season opener at Daytona
By Matt Courson
February 16, 2018
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Johnny Sauter survived several multi-car accidents Friday evening to claim victory in the 19th Annual NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
“This is the most unbelievable superspeedway truck I’ve ever driven,” Sauter said. “I felt like we executed flawlessly.”
Sauter led 39 of the 100 laps around the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway commonly known as “The World Center of Racing.”
David Gilliland led the field to the green flag in his first start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start since 2015. He would ultimately end up brushing the wall late in the race, finishing 21st.
For the first time since 2014, the NASCAR trucks were able to complete more than 15 laps without a caution for an accident. In fact, they waited until lap 55.
While exiting the fourth turn, Grant Enfinger in the No. 98 truck got loose and clipped the apron and spun towards pit road. Several other trucks spun trying to avoid Enfinger.
Enfinger radioed to his crew, “I honestly just lost it. It felt like something broke.” The crew responded by saying that it appeared nothing broke.
Jennifer Jo Cobb lost her brakes while trying to avoid the spinning No. 98 machine and slammed into the wall along the entrance into the trioval.
Cobb slowly climbed out of her truck, pointing to her left arm. The extent of her injuries are unknown at this time.
That was just the beginning.
While running third on lap 74, the No. 8 truck of John Hunter Nemechek blew a right rear tire and spun in front of the pack. The accident collected Brett Moffitt, Stewart Friesen, Austin Hill, Myatt Snider and Spencer Davis.
The green flag waved on lap 81, but the field was unable to complete 1 lap before crashing again.
Clay Greenfield got loose and turned into Matt Crafton, causing more damage to the No. 88 machine. Bryan Dauzat, Austin Hill and Korbin Forrister were also involved in the melee.
The race went green for the final 14 laps and Johnny Sauter claimed victory in the season opening event at Daytona International Speedway.
Frank Romero/The Racing Experts
Daytona International Speedway