Sauter wins Martinsville, back-to-back wins

There’s not a better way to start out a season than to win the opening two races.

Johnny Sauter took claim to that statement as he won Saturday’s Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway.

Starting the race fourth, Sauter didn’t have far to go in taking his second win of the season.

“It was a long day,” said Sauter in a makeshift victory lane on the front stretch of Martinsville Speedway.

“Tire wear was amazing. We kinda had an idea that it was going to be like that all day.”

The majority of the 250-lap event was dominated by first-time pole sitter Jeb Burton, who lined up next to Sauter on the final restart of the race with thirty-three laps to go.

“We just lost forward bite off the corner. We could kill them going in the middle, coming off we just just couldn’t stay with them at the end,” said Burton who led a race-high 154 laps on the day.

Sauter was able to make the pass on Burton in the “slow lane (outside)” of the track while Burton was on the bottom.

Able to drive his truck deep into the first corner, Sauter pulled ahead of Burton’s Chevrolet  down the backstretch and took the race lead for good heading into turn three.

“I just tried to time it just right, that’s the key,” said Sauter about his pass on the final restart.

“Two-for-two starting out, this is just unbelievable.”

By taking the early season wins at Daytona International Speedway and Martinsville, Sauter becomes the first driver to win the opening two races in a Truck Series season in the nineteen-year history of the series.

More series history was made Saturday as it was the first race NASCAR’s new eligibility rules for the Truck Series took place as it was the first race track under one-mile of the season.

That meant 16-year-olds and up could compete in the series for the first time since Kyle Busch back in 2001.

17-year-old Chase Elliott, son of former NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, was the highest finishing driver under 18 in the sixth position.

Erik Jones, driving a truck for Sprint Cup diver Kyle Busch, ran in the top-five at parts of the day and ultimately finished in ninth.

The next race for the Camping World Truck Series is Sunday, April 14 at Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina.

Sauter will head into that race with a twelve-point lead over Burton in the championship standings.

Kroger 250 Unofficial Results 

  1. Johnny Sauter 
  2. Matt Crafton
  3. Jeb Burton
  4. Timothy Peters
  5. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  6. Chase Elliott
  7. Dakoda Armstrong
  8. Ryan Sieg
  9. Erik Jones
  10. Ron Hornaday Jr.
  11. Todd Bodine
  12. Brendan Gaughan
  13. David Starr
  14. James Buescher
  15. Joey Coulter
  16. Ryan Blaney
  17. Miguel Paludo
  18. Ty Dillon
  19. Nelson Piquet Jr.
  20. Ross Chastain
  21. Caleb Holman
  22. Tim George Jr.
  23. Jeff Agnew
  24. Devin Jones
  25. Kevin Harvick
  26. Kenny Habul
  27. Grant Galloway
  28. Robert Bruce
  29. German Quiroga
  30. Max Gresham
  31. Brennan Newberry
  32. John Wes Townley
  33. Norm Benning
  34. Bryan Silas
  35. Scott Riggs
  36. Jennifer Jo Cobb