Sauter Avoids Carnage to Pick Up Plate Track Sweep at Talladega

Photo- Getty Images
Photo- Getty Images

Dramatic closing laps left Johnny Sauter in victory lane after a chaotic day at Talladega. Sauter had help from teammate Matt Crafton for a majority of the race. Crafton happened to be pushing Sauter on the final restart and that propelled Sauter to his third win of the season.

The championship battle was destined to change at Talladega. Throughout the afternoon, many different scenarios arose that could have put a drastic spin to the title hunt. James Buescher led early and he was one of the early favorites which would have significantly helped his championship case. Point’s leader Crafton stayed at the back for a majority of the race, but he made a charge towards the front at the finish.

The first big incident of the day took place with 29 laps to go. Jeb Burton got into Caleb Holman as they shot off into turn 3. Holman turned down into Timothy Peters and then they shot back up the track into the wall. Overall, eight trucks were involved. The wrecking of the afternoon didn’t end there, however.

A championship-picture changing wreck took place with 15 laps to go. Justin Lofton, Ron Hornaday Jr., and James Buescher squeezed together on the bottom line as they entered the backstretch. Hornaday turned Lofton down the track and they collected Buescher. Many hard hits were taken and Buescher most likely took his name out of the title hunt.

Another round of crashing took place with 7 laps to go. A chain reaction on the backstretch led to Ryan Blaney and Hornaday being turned down the track. Each made a significant impact with the inside wall.

The race restarted three laps later with Ross Chastain controlling the field. Chastain had drafting help from Parker Kligerman and that tandem took off. Two more tandems of Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton and Dakoda Armstrong and Kyle Busch soon joined Chastain and Kligerman at the front. The three pairs raced three-wide around the track as the laps wound down.

A dead-even race was on off of turn 4 on the final lap. Sauter and Crafton took the slight advantage as trucks entered the tri-oval. A major accident ensued when the pack caught the runaway tandems at the front. Miguel Paludo turning up into Jeb Burton who got into Busch to initiate the massive last lap wreck.

As the trucks wrecked behind the tandems of Chastain/Kligerman and Sauter/Crafton, a wreck broke out between the pairs. Sauter was the only one to make it through cleanly and he took the checkers.

Just about every truck was caught up in the last lap wreck. Paludo was on his hood while Busch took a few hard hits; with one impact being into the end of the pit road wall.

The smoke took awhile to settle, but it eventually did. Sauter was celebrating his win in victory lane while his teammate and drafting partner, Crafton, was caught up in the mess. Crafton just needed to cross the line today and his championship chances would still be present. He did so to improve his points lead as Buescher had his day cut short.

Talladega provided a major shakeup to the standings, as expected. None of the top contenders could take the victory, leaving Sauter to steal it. Sauter won at Daytona in February and now, Talladega completes his plate track sweep.

Results via ESPN.com

POS DRIVER TRUCK MANUFACTURER

LAPS

MONEY

START

LED

PTS

BONUS

PENALTY

1 Johnny Sauter 98 Toyota

94

24

5

47

4

0

2 David Starr 81 Toyota

94

25

0

42

0

0

3 Ross Chastain 19 Ford

94

7

14

42

1

0

4 Parker Kligerman 20 Toyota

94

18

16

0

0

0

5 Dakoda Armstrong 60 Chevrolet

94

14

0

39

0

0

6 Timmy Hill 1 Chevrolet

94

27

0

0

0

0

7 John Wes Townley 7 Toyota

94

19

0

37

0

0

8 Max Gresham 8 Chevrolet

94

2

0

36

0

0

9 Matt Crafton 88 Toyota

94

23

1

36

1

0

10 Kyle Busch 51 Toyota

94

3

5

0

0

0

11 Brendan Gaughan 62 Chevrolet

94

8

0

33

0

0

12 Norm Benning 57 Chevrolet

94

33

0

32

0

0

13 Clay Greenfield 68 Dodge

94

21

0

31

0

0

14 Ty Dillon 3 Chevrolet

94

5

26

32

2

0

15 Chris Fontaine 83 Toyota

94

17

3

30

1

0

16 Darrell Wallace Jr. 54 Toyota

93

10

4

29

1

0

17 Bryan Silas 99 Ford

93

26

0

27

0

0

18 Jeb Burton 4 Chevrolet

93

1

1

27

1

0

19 Miguel Paludo 32 Chevrolet

93

11

0

25

0

0

20 Justin Lofton 6 Chevrolet

93

16

0

24

0

0

21 Ryan Blaney 29 Ford

91

13

1

24

1

0

22 Mike Harmon 84 Chevrolet

90

35

0

0

0

0

23 Ryan Sieg 39 Chevrolet

87

29

0

21

0

0

24 Ron Hornaday Jr. 9 Chevrolet

87

6

0

20

0

0

25 Scott Stenzel 63 Ford

87

36

0

19

0

0

26 James Buescher 31 Chevrolet

79

4

16

19

1

0

27 Joey Coulter 18 Toyota

79

9

1

18

1

0

28 Jeff Agnew 27 Chevrolet

79

32

0

16

0

0

29 Timothy Peters 17 Toyota

65

31

0

15

0

0

30 Caleb Holman 75 Chevrolet

65

28

0

14

0

0

31 German Quiroga Jr. 77 Toyota

65

20

0

13

0

0

32 Brennan Newberry 24 Chevrolet

65

15

0

12

0

0

33 Sean Corr 82 Ford

65

22

0

11

0

0

34 Chris Cockrum 07 Toyota

65

34

0

10

0

0

35 Chris Jones 93 Chevrolet

27

30

1

10

1

0

36 Mason Mingus 35 Chevrolet

5

12

0

8

0

0

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