Martinsville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - What a week it's been for Johnny Sauter in the Camping World Truck Series.
Sauter won last Saturday's truck race at Talladega, and then two days later, his No. 98 ThorSport Racing team acquired new sponsorship with Nextant Aerospace for the 2014 and '15 seasons.
Sauter's three victories this year is the best among points-eligible drivers in the series. He began the season by winning at Daytona and the spring event at Martinsville, but struggled during the middle part of the year by finishing outside the top-10 in five straight races. Sauter fell back as far as 10th in the point standings. He is currently sixth.
After Sauter led in points for the first three races, his teammate, Matt Crafton, took over the top spot in the standings with his win at Kansas (April 20) and has been there since. Crafton finished ninth at Talladega and increased his points lead to 57 over Ty Dillon, who finished 14th there.
"It's awesome," Crafton said. It just shows what (ThorSport Racing team owners) Duke and Rhonda Thorson have done and gave us to work with to be able to lead the points. Johnny led the first quarter of the season, and I've led up to here, and that just shows what Duke and Rhonda Thorson have done and have been so loyal to the Truck Series. It's going to be huge for us if we can pull it off. We've just got to be smart and hopefully be lucky."
Martinsville has hosted two truck races each season since 2003. Mike Skinner is the only driver who has scored a season-sweep at this 0.526-mile short track.
"I think anytime you race somewhere twice in one season what you did in the spring race is very relevant as far as setups," Sauter said. "Strategy will probably be a little bit different. The race was 250 laps in the spring, and this time it's only 200. I think that puts a bigger emphasis on getting where you want to be in a hurry. I think you're going to see some guys gamble (Saturday) to try to make it a one-stop race."
Sauter won at Martinsville for the first time in the spring of 2011. Crafton finished second to him here earlier this year.
Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are those Sprint Cup Series regulars competing in this race. Hamlin is driving the No. 51 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports. He has won the last two fall events here. Harvick is behind the wheel of the No. 14 Chevrolet for NTS Motorsports. He has three truck victories at this track.
Thirty-eight teams are on the entry list for the Kroger 200.
Series: NASCAR Camping World. Date: Saturday, Oct. 26. Race: Kroger 200. Site: Martinsville Speedway. Track: 0.526-mile oval. Start time: 1:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 200. Miles: 105.2. 2012 Winner: Denny Hamlin. Television: FOX Sports 1. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.