Johnny Sauter’s shot at three Dover wins in a row seemingly foiled when his engine wouldn’t turn back on under caution with 42 to go.
Crew chief Joe Shear Jr. told Sauter to cut the ignition during those pace laps to save every bit of fuel possible to save a split second on the next pit stop. Sauter’s engine eventually fired back up, but he slipped from second to eighth once it reignited.
Motivated and riled up, Sauter drove his way back up to regain the lead from Ben Rhodes with 30 laps to go and rebound from the mishap to take his third straight Gander Outdoors NASCAR Truck Series win at Dover International Speedway.
“I probably dropped a couple of F-bombs, but at the end of the day, you have to get back on your horse,” Sauter said. “You just have to stay focused on what you can control. Today I kept my wits about me. Obviously, the motor wouldn’t fire back up. I don’t know why. But I won’t do that again. I’m just proud of everyone at ThorSport.”
Sauter, who is admittedly on edge every second in he’s in the cockpit, wasn’t particularly happy with Shear. The two exchanged a spirited conversation before the second to last restart, and then Shear just Sauter make amends by making his way back through the field.
“Basically, we’re trying to make our last pit stop as fast as we can,” Shear said. “You never know when the last caution is going to come. We always do that. It was just a freak deal.”
Pole-sitter Brett Moffitt finished second and led the first 81 laps, but never regained control once Sauter used a lapped car as a pick to move around Moffitt for the lead in Stage 2.
“Thought today was going to be our day, but then we lost track position due to some lap cars racing about three seconds off the pace and we just never got the track position back,” Moffitt said. “NASCAR is doing a really poor job of watching minimum speed, in my opinion. [Some cars] shouldn’t be out there. … It puts us in a bad situation.”
Harrison Burton finished third and led lap 118, apart of a fierce four-car battle for the lead. Grant Enfinger and Matt Crafton, who charged from the tail-end of the field (engine change), rounded out the top five.
Ben Rhodes, Austin Hill, Derek Kraus, Tyler Ankrum, and Ross Chastain made up the top 10.
Sheldon Creed, who led 59 of the final 110 laps, had his chances done away when he lost control of his car coming off Turn 2 on a restart with 40 to go.
This story will be updated.
Brett Moffitt started on the pole and lead all 45 laps in Stage 1 for his first stage win of the season. Johnny Sauter, who finished 1.1 seconds behind Moffitt, came second and challenged for the top spot with 20 to go as Moffitt navigated lapped traffic.
But once Sauter pulled to within one car length for the top spot, Moffitt stretched the lead until the green-white-checkered flag. Sheldon Creed, Grant Enfinger, and Harrison Burton made up the top five.
Stewart Friesen, Austin Hill (from 12th), Tyler Ankrum, Raphael Lessard, and Matt Crafton (from the rear; engine) comprised the top 10.
Johnny Sauter used a savvy move with nine to go to overtake Brett Moffitt for his second stage win of the season.
Moffitt, who stumbled to third, was the culprit of Sauter’s slick move, as Sauter used a lapped car as a pick to power around Moffitt on the outside in between Turns 1 and 2 on lap 82. Up to that point, Moffitt’s 81 laps led was the most in a single race in his Truck career.
Sheldon Creed finished second, 0.706 seconds behind, and won the race off pit road to lead the field to green heading into the final stage. Grant Enfinger, Austin Hill, Harrison Burton, Jesse Little, Ben Rhodes, Brandon Jones, and Ross Chastain rounded out the top 10.
Stewart Friesen, who started the stage eighth, fell to 14th, and Raphael Lessard shuffled to 15th.