JOHNNY SAUTER No. 21 Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado
Stage One: Sauter finished the first stage in the second position, after briefly leading for a total of seven laps, before the stage ended on lap 20. The No. 21 team pitted under caution for fuel only, lining up in the second position for the start of Stage 2.
Stage Two: The field returned to green on lap 26 and Sauter once again regained the lead on lap 27. He held onto the top spot until the stage ended on lap 42. Under the caution, Sauter brought his Allegiant Chevy to pit road for four tires and fuel. With other teams taking fuel only, Sauter returned to the track in the eighth position.
Final Stage: Sauter made his way back to the front, running in the top-five as a series of cautions occurred. He took the lead for the fourth time on lap 59, quickly followed by the fifth caution period of the race. Sauter pitted with his GMS teammates for fuel only and rejoined the field ninth. Sauter worked with teammate Justin Haley to move back into the top-three with just over 20 laps to go. The No. 21 Allegiant Chevrolet moved to the front of the pack for the final time with eight laps remaining, with Sauter holding on to earn his third win at Daytona International Speedway.
– Sauter now leads the series in wins at Daytona International Speedway.
– GMS Racing scores their third consecutive win at Daytona – (2016 J. Sauter, 2017 K. Grala, 2018 J. Sauter).
– GMS Racing is now tied with Bobby Hamilton Racing (2001, 2002, 2005) for the series-most wins at Daytona.
“What a truck tonight that Allegiant Chevrolet was. We qualified well and tried to keep track position all night. We came from 10th a few different times to get to the front. I just felt so calm today; I had all the faith in my truck and my team. We were just so fast.
“After playing around in the draft in practice, I felt like if you let anyone get more than a truck length back they could get a surge to you. I think Haley did a great job not helping the 20 truck get too much. I felt like if the 20 did peak out the 24 was in the perfect position to fill that spot and he did, so having a teammate right there at the end was definitely beneficial. Justin did a great job especially there at the end. I couldn’t be more proud of him. I felt like as an organization we executed perfectly tonight with our teammates, Dalton Sergeant and Cody Coughlin. That’s fun when you can do that, execute like that and ultimately end up first and second.
“Once you have a championship you have that taste and it’s a taste you want to keep. I’m pretty pumped and feel good about our team. It’s the exact same group we had last year; they are the greatest group of guys I’ve ever been around and I think this year we’re going to continue doing what we’ve been doing. I’d be disappointed if we aren’t running for another championship in Miami.”
No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet
Stage One: Starting 12th in his first Daytona International Speedway start, Haley struggled to advance into the top-10 for the first half of Stage One. After battling three-wide for several laps Haley began to work his way forward, breaking into the top-10 for the first time on lap 11. As the field approached the Stage One conclusion, Haley got shuffled back to the 12th position. Crew chief Kevin Bellicourt brought the No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet to pit road for fuel and a chassis adjustment under caution, with Haley returning to the track to restart 10th.
Stage Two: Four laps into the start of the second stage Haley moved into the sixth position and maintained that spot until the conclusion on lap 40. Haley visited his team on pit road for four tires and fuel, lining up 12th for the restart after several trucks took fuel only.
Final Stage: Haley worked in the draft with teammate Johnny Sauter to break into the top-five as the cautionwaved on lap 56. As the field returned to green, the No. 24 fell back to the ninth position as the race was placed back under yellow on lap 65. Haley pitted for fuel only with his GMS teammates and rejoined the field in the 12th position. With help from Sauter, Haley took the lead on lap 82 and held his position until 10 laps to go. As others began to make moves for the lead, Haley fell back to the fifth position before regaining the second position on the final lap.
– Haley’s second-place finish in his Daytona International Speedway debut is his highest NCWTS finish to date.
“Those first few laps were a little crazy. We didn’t qualify the way we wanted and we got shuffled back there at the start. We made some great pit stops and got up toward the front, in the mix, at the end of stage two. As I was in the lead there at caution and we were going back green, I didn’t know who to pick to push me. Lagasse gave me a good push on the outside to the lead so I stuck with my gut on that one. I tried to block the runs and got shuffled back a little bit on the last lap. We were trying to work with Joe Nemechek to back up to him and try to get a run for the win, but the outside line actually had a good run and the opportunity wasn’t there. When Lagasse went up to block it Iside drafted him and took advantage of that. I thought maybe we were going to have Johnny there toward the end. Either way, I’m really glad to have Fraternal Order of Eagles onboard and happy Johnny got the win for GMS.”
“You obviously want to start off at Daytona on a good foot, because it just adds to the whole team morale and the atmosphere around you. Johnny getting the win is good for GMS as a whole and we had a great run, so we’re leaving with a lot of positives. Being able to run the full season, there really isn’t a reason we shouldn’t be in the final four at the end of this year. Our mile-and-a-half stuff has been good, and we just tested Charlotte with the NT1 and got some good data, so I guess we just need to go win at Atlanta.”
No. 25 Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevrolet Silverado
Stage One: Hooking up with GMS Racing teammate Johnny Sauter early on, Sargeant ran up front for the entirety of the first 20 laps, finishing Stage One in the third position. Coming to pit road under the stage break, the initial call from crew chief Doug Randolph was for fuel only. Unfortunately, issues with fueling occurred and Randolph made the quick call to change four tires as well, lining Sargeant up 25th for the restart on lap 26.
Stage Two: Sargeant ran in the back of the lead pack throughout Stage Two, looking to avoid any incidents. He ultimately finished Stage Two in the 15th position. Hitting pit road for fuel only, Sargeant restarted second for the Final Stage on lap 47.
Final Stage: Sargeant grabbed the lead almost immediately when the green flag flew and led two laps before being shuffled back in the pack. On lap 56, a wreck ensued collecting Sargeant. With front-end damage and flat front tires, Sargeant came to the attention of his Performance Plus Motor Oil team for repairs and right side tires. Coming back down pit road for more damage repair and left side tires, Sargeant ultimately lost a lap, relegating him to 29th on the restart on lap 62. Just three laps later, the caution came out again, allowing Sargeant to get his lap back and to come to pit road for four tires and fuel. Restarting 23rd, Sargeant battled his way back into the Top-10 with 20 laps remaining. Making a charge to the front in the closing laps, Sargeant ultimately crossed the finish line eighth in his first NCWTS start at Daytona International Speedway.
“We had a really good night in the No. 25 Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevy. We had to overcome some adversity tonight, but that’s plate-racing. We just seemed like we were in the wrong place at the wrong time most of the night. Even though myChevy was beat up, my GMS Racing guys worked really hard to get the No. 25 repaired and keep us in contention. My spotter, T.J. Majors, had his work cut out for him guiding me through the field, but I couldn’t have done it without his coaching. Despite the issues, this was probably one of the most fun races I’ve ever competed in. I’m ready to keep the season going and get to Atlanta (Motor Speedway).”
No. 2 JEGS.com Chevrolet Silverado
Stage One: Coughlin finished Stage One running in the 10th position. Crew chief Jerry Baxter called the No. 2 JEGS.com Chevy Silverado down pit road under the break for fuel only. Unfortunately an issue with fueling relegated Coughlin to 12th for the restart.
Stage Two: When the field went back green on lap 26, Coughlin methodically began working his way through the field, reaching fourth-place, where he ran until the end of Stage Two. Coming to pit road under caution, Coughlin received four tires and fuel, but an issue with the right front cost him valuable track position, lining him up 18th for the start of the Final Stage.
Final Stage: Working his way back into the Top-10 running order, Coughlin was caught up in an incident on lap 56. Coming to pit road multiple times for damage repair and to top off on fuel, the No. 2 JEGS.com team gave Coughlin the green-light on repairs to head back on track, restarting 14th on lap 62. Restarting 11th, Coughlin worked his way inside the Top-10, but ultimately dropped out of the pack when he felt his left rear tire go flat. However, a wreck at the front of the field simultaneously brought out the caution on lap 74. After receiving four fresh tires and a bit of damage repair, Coughlin restarted seventh for the final 13 laps. Unfortunately, Coughlin experienced another flat tire with five laps to go. He was able to come to pit road for a new left rear tire and return to the track for a 17th-place finish.
“Well, we had a good run going tonight and a really fast JEGS.com Chevrolet Silverado. We just had terrible luck. It’s hard to overcome two flat left rear tires and having to start at the tail of the field a lot due to those issues. Hopefully, we can get this luck turned around for next weekend at Atlanta (Motor Speedway).”