Thursday, November 15, 2018

Johnny Sauter - NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4

Johnny Sauter - NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4
It wouldn’t be the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs if we didn’t have Johnny Sauter in the Championship 4, would it?

The 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion is back to take his crown. This is Sauter’s third trip to the Playoffs in its current format and he has been in the Championship 4 every one of those trips, winning it all in 2016.

This is Sauter’s 15th year competing in the Camping World Truck Series and his 10th as a full-timer. He has 243 total starts, 23 wins, 102 top fives, 157 top 10s and seven poles. He has led 2,447 laps and has an average start of 9.8 and average finish of 9.6.

Sauter also passed Todd Bodine this season to put himself on the list of top five all-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winners with 23.

Top Five All-Time In NCWTS Wins
Kyle Busch
Ron Hornaday Jr.
Jack Sprague
Mike Skinner
Johnny Sauter
Todd Bodine

In 2016, Sauter’s first trip to the Playoffs and the Championship 4, he had three wins, 12 top-five finishes, 19 top 10s and one pole. He won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway to secure his spot in the Playoffs and then went on to win back-to-back Playoff races at Martinsville and Texas before winning the championship.

Last year, Sauter had four wins with 13 top fives, 19 top 10s and led 455 laps. Sauter won at Dover to secure his spot in the Playoffs and then went on to win at Chicagoland in the regular season. In the Playoffs, Sauter won at Texas and Phoenix before finishing second in the standings when Christopher Bell took home the championship.

If Sauter wins the championship this year, he will join Ron Hornaday Jr., Jack Sprague and Matt Crafton as multi-championship winners in the series. It appears that Sauter just gets better with time as he accomplished a career-best six wins this season along with 14 top fives, 17 top 10s and one pole. He also led a career-best 585 laps so far. The winning began in the season-opener at Daytona where Sauter started in the front row and ended up winning the race after leading 39 laps. And, as a reminder, the last time Sauter won the season-opener and went to the Championship 4, he won the title. From there, he just kept winning. He won at Dover after starting from second place and won at Charlotte Motor Speedway starting from the pole. Immediately after, he won at Texas to give himself back-to-back victories. He then went on to win at Bristol starting from the fourth position, also where he was crowned the regular season champion.

Playoff Recap

GMS Racing’s Johnny Sauter kicked off the postseason’s Round of 8 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with a sixth-place finish. Then at Las Vegas, he started sixth and finished runner-up and then barely scraped by into the next round with a 22nd-place finish at Talladega. Sauter’s championship run got back on track at Martinsville after starting eighth and racing his way to the win securing his spot in Miami. He closed out the Round of 6 with an 11th at Texas and a seventh at ISM Raceway last weekend.

Homestead-Miami Outlook

Johnny Sauter is the only Playoff driver with some veteran experience at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He has made series 11 starts at the 1.5-mile speedway producing one win (2011), four top fives, and eight top 10s. He has also led 64 laps Homestead and has an average finish of 10.1.

His first run at the South Florida track was in 2003. From 2009-2017, Sauter has run at Homestead every season. His past two appearances resulted in third-place finishes (2016, 2017).

Sauter’s first and only win at the 1.5-mile track was in 2011 for Curb Racing, when he started fifth. If Sauter win at Homestead, he will join Kyle Busch as the only two active drivers to have ever won multiple times at the track.

Crew Chief Corner

Joe Shear, Jr. is a very experienced and knowledgeable NASCAR Camping World Truck Series crew chief and he has been with Johnny Sauter for the past three years. Shear, Jr. also worked with Sauter earlier in his career from 2004 to 2013.

The two of them have seen a lot of success together with 20 wins, 78 top fives and 106 top 10s and let’s not forget the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship. Shear, Jr. has been a crew chief in the Truck Series for 14 years. Of those 14 years, 10 of them were spent with Sauter either part time or fulltime. This season, Shear, Jr. has 22 starts with six wins, 14 top fives, 17 top 10s and one pole.

Aside from Shear, Jr.’s Truck Series crew chief career, he was also atop the pit box in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for a brief 10 races with Sauter and Michael Waltrip in 2005 and 2006. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Shear, Jr. was a crew chief for five years (1995, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006) accumulating 96 starts, one win, two top fives, 13 top 10s and one pole. The one win, two top fives, five of the top 10s and the pole were all with Sauter in 2005. Shear, Jr. was also crew chief in 2009 for three races in the K&N Pro Series East and West with driver Brian Ickler where he saw one win, two top fives and two top 10s.

In the Camping World Truck Series, Shear, Jr. has been to Homestead-Miami Speedway eight times. Six of those times were with Sauter (2009-2017). This weekend will mark his seventh start at the track. He has one win, four top fives, seven top 10s and an average finish of 8.4. In 2011, Shear, Jr. won at Homestead with Sauter starting from fifth.

Team Talk

GMS Racing began its NACAR Camping World Truck Series program in 2014 and since has produced 23 series wins, 85 top fives, 174 top 10s, 10 poles and one driver championship (2016). This season marks the third consecutive season GMS Racing has fielded drivers in the Championship 4 – (2016: Johnny Sauter, 2017: Johnny Sauter and 2018 Justin Haley and Johnny Sauter).

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