By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
DOVER, Del. – You can call him the Dover Dominator.
With a No. 13 ThorSport Racing Ford that was strongest at the end of Saturday’s Jegs 200 at Dover International Speedway, Johnny Sauter beat pole winner Brett Moffitt to the finish line after a late restart to win his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race of the season and his third straight the Monster Mile.
The former series champion, who returned to ThorSport this season after a less-than-amicable split with GMS Racing, could hardly contain himself after taking the checkered flag .603 seconds ahead of Moffitt, the reigning series champion, who signed with GMS during the offseason.
“When you get kicked to the curb, you feel like you have a lot to prove,” Sauter said in Victory Lane. “I have to thank (owners) Duke and Rhonda Thorson most importantly— a couple months ago I didn’t know if I’d be racing.
“To get three in a row here is extra special. I have to thank these guys. I was highly motivated. I shut the motor off earlier today in the race and it wouldn’t re-fire and I was like, ‘Oh well.’ Track position was so important, but experience paid off.
“It’s so special. This ranks up there as one of the biggest wins of my career. We’ve got to keep it going—that’s the main goal here, not to get complacent. I knew after Atlanta (where Sauter finished second on Feb. 23) we’d have a shot to win races. I felt like we gave one away at Martinsville but got it today.”
Moffitt won the first 45-lap stage wire-to-wire and held the lead with nine laps left in Stage 2. But Sauter charged from third to first in two laps, passing Moffitt for the lead—and ultimately the stage win on Lap 82.
Saving fuel during the final run, however, Sauter was turning his ignition off and on under caution, but the engine wouldn’t re-fire. Eventually he let the clutch out and the truck started, but Sauter fell to eighth for a restart on Lap 160.
Systematically, he worked his way back through the field, aided by a subsequent caution. He restarted sixth on Lap 166 after an accident that KO’d the No. 2 truck of Sheldon Creed. On Lap 170 Sauter navigated around both Moffitt and third-place finisher Harrison Burton to take the lead.
From that point on, Moffitt pursued Sauter to the finish line.
“It’s all about track position, really,” Moffitt said. “When we were out front, we could lead and won the first stage, but it was just a lot of traffic cost us track position that we never got back.”
ThorSport teammates Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton and Ben Rhodes finished fourth, fifth and sixth, followed by Austin
Hill, Derek Kraus, Tyler Ankrum and Ross Chastain, who recorded his sixth top 10 in six races this season.
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race – 20th Annual JEGS 200
Dover International Speedway
Friday, May 3, 2019
- (2) Johnny Sauter, Ford, 200.
- (1) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 200.
- (9) Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 200.
- (6) Grant Enfinger, Ford, 200.
- (5) Matt Crafton, Ford, 200.
- (11) Ben Rhodes, Ford, 200.
- (12) Austin Hill, Toyota, 200.
- (15) Derek Kraus, Toyota, 200.
- (10) Tyler Ankrum #, Toyota, 200.
- (16) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 200.
- (7) Raphael Lessard, Toyota, 200.
- (4) Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, 200.
- (19) Brandon Jones(i), Toyota, 200.
- (18) Gus Dean #, Chevrolet, 200.
- (14) Todd Gilliland, Toyota, 200.
- (32) Ryan Sieg(i), Chevrolet, 198.
- (20) Natalie Decker, Toyota, 197.
- (23) Tyler Dippel #, Chevrolet, 197.
- (17) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 197.
- (25) Tyler Hill, Chevrolet, 197.
- (22) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 196.
- (27) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 192.
- (8) Brennan Poole, Toyota, DVP, 189.
- (30) Ray Ciccarelli, Chevrolet, 188.
- (28) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 186.
- (21) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, Suspension, 167.
- (3) Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, Accident, 160.
- (24) Reid Wilson, Chevrolet, Alternator, 140.
- (13) Jesse Little, Ford, Track Bar, 115.
- (26) Korbin Forrister, Toyota, Accident, 108.
- (29) Josh Reaume, Chevrolet, Too Slow, 51.
- (31) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, Too Slow, 28.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 107.431 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 51 Mins, 42 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.603 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 6 for 35 laps.
Lead Changes: 11 among 6 drivers.
Lap Leaders: B. Moffitt 1-48;G. Enfinger 49;B. Moffitt 50-81;J. Sauter 82-93;G. Enfinger 94;S. Creed # 95-116;B. Moffitt 117;H. Burton # 118;S. Creed # 119-155;G. Enfinger 156;B. Rhodes 157-169;J. Sauter 170-200.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Brett Moffitt 3 times for 81 laps; Sheldon Creed # 2 times for 59 laps; Johnny Sauter 2 times for 43 laps; Ben Rhodes 1 time for 13 laps; Grant Enfinger 3 times for 3 laps; Harrison Burton # 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 24,13,2,98,18,52,16,17,46,88
Stage #2 Top Ten: 13,2,24,98,16,18,97,99,51,45