Two-for-Two: Johnny Sauter wins Kroger 200 at Martinsville SpeedwayBy Ashley McCubbin
After suffering through some bad luck last year, Johnny Sauter is off to a strong start in 2013, having now won the first two races of the season. Sauter becomes the second driver in Truck Series to open up the season with back-t0-back victories; Mark Martin was the first to do so in 2006. It marks the eighth victory of Sauter’s truck series career.
Sauter would take the lead from young Jeb Burton on a late race restart with 17 laps to go and never look back to take the victory.
I just tried to time it just right – that’s the key,” Sauter said in victory lane. “So proud of everybody on this Toyota. All of our sponsors, all of the guys at ThorSport. They’ve been working hard in the shop. It was a long day. Tire wear was the main deal
“Two for two, starting out is just unbelievable.”
Sauter’s teammate Matt Crafton would get by Burton with five to go for second to make it a one-two finish for ThorSport Racing for his second straight top 10 finish of 2013 and 12th top 10 finish at Martinsville.
“We’re going to be a championship contending team,” he said. “Our truck was terrible the first run, but it just shows how good these guys are as we were good at the end.”
20-year-old Jeb Burton would hold on to third after starting on the pole and running inside the top five most of the day.
“We just lost forward bite coming off the corner,” he said. “Just couldn’t stay with them at the end. But it was a good truck all day. It was just awesome from the beginning.”
Timothy Peters would finish fourth, followed by outside pole-sitter Darrell Wallace Jr. in fifth.
Chase Elliott, son of Bill Elliott, would finish sixth in his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start. Dakota Armstrong finished seventh, followed by Ryan Seig, Erik Jones and Ron Hornaday. Hornaday made his way back up to 10th after being spun by Burton while battling for the lead on lap 104.
“I’m a rookie, live and learn,” Burton said. “I didn’t mean to wreck him (Hornaday)…sorry about that”
Todd Bodine would finish 11th after being spun by Kevin Harvick with 23 laps to go. Harvick was running up front late in the race when he had a flat tire, causing him to fall back through the field.
The 200 lap race at Martinsville resulted in 10 different cautions with the first coming on lap 58 for Grant Galloway going for a spin. He would also bring out the third caution on lap 86 after another spin, followed by a third spin for the sixth caution with 107 laps to go. Galloway would finish 27th.
The second caution came out on lap 70 for German Quiroga putting down fluid through turns one and two with a gear problem while running inside the top seven. Quiroga would finish 29th.
The fifth caution came out with 120 laps to go when Robert Bruce would go around. He would finish the race 28th.
The seventh caution came out on lap 158 when Hornaday, Tim George Jr. and Galloway went around all together in turn two. George Jr. finished 22nd.
Max Gresham went around in turn two for the eighth caution with 55 laps to go. Gresham would finish 30th.
With 44 laps to go, Crafton got into John Wes Townley, causing Townley to make heavy contact with the outside turn four wall for the ninth caution. Townley would finish 32nd.
Sauter continues to lead the points, 12 points ahead of Jeb Burton.
The next race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is at Rockingham Speedway next weekend.