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Sauter makes most of Nemechek’s troubles to take Bristol win

Jeff Birchfield • Aug 17, 2018 at 1:27 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Johnny Sauter doubled up Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Sauter won both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 and the series’ regular-season championship trophy in the finale before the start of the 10-race playoff. His fifth win of the season, his first at Bristol, came after leader John Hunter Nemechek slowed with a fuel pickup issue. Sauter’s No. 21 Chevrolet passed him with four laps to go.

“I’m so lucky, just so lucky, that I’ve got the group of guys who work on my truck,” said Sauter, the 2016 truck series champion. “For a short-track guy, to get a win at this place is so special. I knew we had a good truck. But to win here at Bristol, that is the ultimate.”

Sauter, who led three times for 58 laps, held off short-track ace Stewart Friessen for his 22nd career win. It was Friessen’s second runner-up finish at Bristol in recent months after he finished second at the Short Track U.S. Nationals in June.

“Uncle Johnny races me hard,” Friessen said. “But that was a lot of fun. The lapped traffic was hard to get around, but I loved battling him and John Hunter. That was the most fun I’ve had all year.”

Sauter and Friessen had a spirited battle behind Nemechek, who passed Sauter for the lead with 24 laps to go and appeared to be cruising to the victory. Nemechek led two times for a race-high 104 laps. The top three finishers were all in Chevrolets.

Parker Kligerman, driving the No. 75 Food Country USA Toyota for the Abingdon-based Henderson Motorsports team, finished fourth. Todd Gilliland, in a No. 4 Toyota owned by Kyle Busch, rounded out the top five.

Justin Haley finished sixth in a Chevrolet, followed by Ben Rhodes in a Ford, Matt Crafton and Noah Gragson in Toyotas and Grant Enfinger in a Ford.

Jesse Little, whose mother, Donna, is a Dobyns-Bennett graduate and still has family in Kingsport, finished 26th.

Christopher Bell, who wasn’t originally scheduled to be in the race but substituted for an ailing Harrison Burton, won the pole with a lap of 125.839 mph. The defending truck series champion led 31 laps, but finished 28th after the power steering went out in the No. 51 Toyota.


Justin Bonsignore captured the Bush’s Beans 150 for his sixth win in 11 starts this season in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series.

The Long Island, N.Y., racer started on the pole but was passed by defending race champion Patrick Emerling on the opening lap. Bonsignore fell back to fifth place before working his way back up to the front.

He then held off Chase Dowling over the final third of the race to win by .519 of a second.

“It was a really good race,” Bonsignore said. “After 20, 30 laps, that top line came in. Once I got back to the lead, I could tell how good our car was. I was able to move my line around, go to the top, go to the bottom and take away any moment um (Dowling) might have had. I was able to just get a good consistent run the last 10 laps.”

Dowling finished second, followed by Rob Summers, Emerling and Doug Coby. All were powered by Chevrolet engines.

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