By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Being a defending champion won’t guarantee advancing to the next Round of the Playoffs. For defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter, the odds play into his favor to advance to the Round of Six. Sauter enters Talladega Superspeedway fourth in the Playoff Standings in the No. 21 Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado.
At Talladega, Sauter has one win, three top-fives, and five top-10s in eight starts. He also has six NASCAR Xfinity Series starts (one top-10 and one pole position) and five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at the 2.66-mile restrictor plate track.
Sauter is confident in the speed of his GMS Racing Silverado,
“I think we can play the strategy game a little bit because the GMS trucks, especially as of late, on the superspeedways have just been phenomenally fast. Our truck at Daytona this year was the fastest speedway vehicle I’ve ever had in my career. If we can duplicate that or try to, we’ll be in a good position. Talladega’s got a little different complexion to the race than Daytona does, where I feel like it’s better to stay in line and be disciplined than be a hero and make moves. It’s definitely a wild card race; things can happen out of your control there.”
So far, this season, Sauter has two wins, nine top-fives, and 15 top-10s in 18 starts. Despite being caught in the last lap crash at Daytona, Sauter has been credited with running at the finish of every race this season.
Sauter has just 24-points to spare over the cutoff for the Round of Six. The first driver on the outside, looking in, is his GMS Racing teammate Kaz Grala. Sauter can clinch this weekend in the fred’s 250 powered by Coca-Cola on points with 40 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 32 Points. Sauter can also clinch with a win this weekend.
Now Sauter and his GMS Racing team will attempt to secure a spot in the Round of Six at the unpredictable Talladega Superspeedway.