Johnny Sauter Holds off Chase Elliott to win Martinsville; Advances to Championship 4

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MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 29: Johnny Sauter, driver of the #21 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet, poses with the winner's decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions at Martinsville Speedway on October 29, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series switches gears this week. Going from Talladega to the small paperclip of Martinsville Speedway for the Texas Roadhouse 200. Similar to Talladega, Martinsville presents its own set of problems to drivers. Short, claustrophobic, bumper to bumper racing is the norm at this .526 mile track. Chase Elliott, making his season debut, sat on the pole with Daniel Suarez to his outside. The big headline of this event was the Harrison Burton. The 16-year-old son of NBC Analyst Jeff Burton was making his NASCAR debut in a truck prepared by Kyle Busch Motorsports. He starts 16th. A win for Johnny Sauter advances him to the final round.

Johnny Sauter Holds off Chase Elliott to win Martinsville; Advances to Championship 4

Race Recap

The race got underway as any Martinsville event would, beating and banging. Elliott takes the early lead and goes on to lead 109 laps. The first big incident of the race came on lap 109 and involved Spencer Gallagher, last week’s runner up. His truck cut down a right front tire and goes hard into the wall. Two-time champion Matt Crafton‘s day would turn sour after he loses a lap early on due to a brake fire. Burton’s debut started with a very strong running. In the top ten for most of the day until lap 164, contact from Timothy Peters sent Burton’s Dex Imaging Toyota Tundra into the wall. He receives heavy damage.

Lap 177 saw a big crash involving Chase contender Ben Kennedy. Contact from Ben Rhodes sends Kennedy spinning. All seemed well until John Wes Townley slowed into the rear of Kennedy’s truck. This crash would severely hurt Kennedy’s race and drop him down in the Chase standings. In the end however, it would be a two truck duel to the finish between Johnny Sauter and Chase Elliott. Sauter holds off a hard charging Elliott and secures his spot in the Championship 4 race at Homestead. The Texas Roundhouse 200 is Sauter’s second win this year and first since he won Daytona in February.

Top 5 from the Texas Roadhouse 200

  1. #21 Smokey Mountain Chevy- Johnny Sauter
  2. #71 Napa Auto Parts Chevy- Chase Elliott (POLE)
  3. #8 Fire Alarm Services Chevy- John Hunter Nemechek
  4. #4 JBL Toyota- Christopher Bell
  5. #17 Red Horse Racing Toyota- Timothy Peters

Other notable finishers include William Byron coming home eighth. Austin Hill finishes tenth. Cole Whitt in 12th, and Matt Crafton rebounds after the brake fire to finish 17th. Harrison Burton finishes 22nd in his NASCAR debut. The two Canadians in the field, Cameron Hayley and DJ Kennington, finish 11th and 23rd, respectively.

Final Thoughts

Martinsville Speedway might seem calm on the outside. Inside those trucks it’s a whole different story. Working the throttle, managing the brakes, shifting gears, and running three inches from other trucks makes for a hectic day for the drivers. The race does a number on the trucks and it’s very slim that a driver will survive without damage. Careful and conservative is the name of the game at Martinsville. With the new Chase format, the six drivers left need to be more careful than ever before. One bad race can ruin your championship hopes.

Chase Standings After Martinsville

  1. #21 GMS Racing Chevy- Johnny Sauter (advanced)
  2. #4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota- Christopher Bell +13
  3. #17 Red Horse Racing Toyota- Timothy Peters +12
  4. #9 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota- William Byron +9
  5. #88 Thorsport Toyota- Matt Crafton -9
  6. #33 GMS Racing Chevy- Ben Kennedy -10

The Camping World Truck Series will be back in action Friday November 4th for the Longhorn 350 at Texas Motor Speedway.

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