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CWTS: Sauter punches ticket to next round

(MRN) Johnny Sauter took control of Saturday’s race in the closing laps, leading the final twenty-five trips around Martinsville Speedway’s half-mile oval – advancing into The Championship Four of the inaugural Truck Series Chase. Sauter, who started fifth in the thirty-two-truck field, passed John Hunter Nemechek for his final lead of the day and kept the Number-21 G-M-S Racing Chevrolet in front down the stretch to record his twelfth career victory and second of the season. Sauter is the first driver to punch his ticket into the championship race next month at Homestead-Miami Speedway as he pursues his first Truck Series title. His margin of victory over runner-up Chase Elliott was three-tenths of a second. Nemechek nabbed third place with rookie Christopher Bell and Timothy Peters completing the top five. Elliott started from the pole and led a race-high 109 laps en route to his second-place finish … Of Sauter’s twelve career wins, three have come at Martinsville. That ties him for Number-1 on the track’s all-time list. He shares the top spot with Kevin Harvick, Dennis Setzer and Mike Skinner … Matt Crafton, bidding for his second straight victory in Martinsville’s fall race, started eleventh but finished seventeenth. He failed to lead a lap but was among the drivers who finished on the lead lap with Sauter at the checkered flag … Three of the six drivers still in the championship hunt filled spots in the top five: Sauter, Bell and Peters. Top-seeded William Byron finished eighth, Crafton seventeenth and Ben Kennedy eighteenth … Saturday’s race included just six lead changes among five drivers.

Top 10 Finishers in the Texas Roadhouse 200

DRIVER STARTING POSITION LAPS LED

1. Johnny Sauter (5) 50

2. Chase Elliott (Pole) 109

3. John H. Nemechek (12) 18

4. Christopher Bell (R) (6) —

5. Timothy Peters (19) —

6. Daniel Suarez (2) —

7. Cole Custer (R) (3) 17

8. William Byron (R) (7) —

9. Daniel Hemric (13) 6

  1. Austin Hill (15) –

Chase Standings – Semifinal Round

DRIVER POINTS BEHIND LEADER

* 1. Johnny Sauter 3,036 —-

2. Christopher Bell (R) 3,029 -7

3. Timothy Peters 3,028 -8

4. William Byron (R) 3,025 -11

5. Matt Crafton 3,016 -20

6. Ben Kennedy 3,015 -21

* Advanced to Next Round

Johnny Sauter, Saturday’s winner at Martinsville Speedway, entered the Chase as the Number-5 seed but has climbed to Number-1 in points with the victory …

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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