Sauter finishes NASCAR Truck season sweep at Texas; Buescher still points leader with 2 to go
FORT WORTH, Texas – James Buescher is still the NASCAR Truck Series points leader, even after getting hit from behind and being the last truck on the lead lap.
While not exactly the kind of finish Buescher was hoping for at his home track, especially after starting second and being near the front of the field the first half of the race, his 11th-place showing Friday night was enough for a 15-point lead over Ty Dillon with two races left this season.
"It could have been worse," Buescher said. "We didn't want to put ourselves in any bad spots but we got put in bad spots and we came out with the lead, so I don't think you can blame that kind of stuff for what happened. We had a bunch of damage and never caught a caution the rest of the night to fix it, and never caught a break."
Johnny Sauter won the fastest race in Truck Series history, regaining the lead with 11 laps to go and earning his second victory in his disappointing season — with both wins coming in Texas.
It was the sixth career victory for Sauter, who became the third driver to sweep both races at the 1½-mile high-banked Texas track in the same season.
Sauter, who finished 2.2 seconds ahead of Parker Kligerman, led twice for 28 laps and won with an average speed of 154.734 mph. There were only two cautions, slowing the race down for only eight laps.
Nelson Piquet Jr., the polesitter who led twice for a race-high 65 laps, finished third. Kyle Busch wound up fourth, overcoming some early electrical problems.
Dillon finished fifth in his Chevrolet. He led only one lap, late when he stayed out during the last cycle of green-flag stops to pick up a bonus point. He moved six points closer to Buescher heading to Phoenix next week.
Buescher started second beside his teammate, Piquet, and was still running in the front group midway through the 147-lap race. That's when Matt Crafton made contact from behind on the restart after the second caution.
After that, Buescher started dropping back and was passed by Dillon a few laps later.
Buescher, who is from nearby Plano, has won on the dirt track, one-fifth mile track, quarter-mile front-stretch layout and the road course at Texas Motor Speedway. But he's now 0 for 8 on the main track.
"I thought we were controlling our own destiny tonight and we got run into on a restart," Buescher said. "So we were in some close quarters racing at times and led some laps and had a fast track, so you can control your own destiny but you can't control what everybody else is doing."
With no more cautions after that, Buescher never had a chance for an extended stop and worked hard to finish on the lead lap.
Sauter made the winning pass in his Toyota around Kligerman, who took only two tires his last stop and couldn't hold on to the lead.
"I just made sure I didn't screw up getting off pit road. I thought we had a pretty good lead," Sauter said. "They said, you're racing the 30 (Piquet) for the lead. Then I got by him, and they were like no, it's the 7 (Kligerman). But I knew he took two tires and it was just going to be a matter of time. The bumps were playing havoc with everybody, so grip was a premium."