No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet Silverado
Stage One: After starting Friday night’s NC Education Lottery 200 from the pole, Sauter settled into the second position for the first 22 laps, reporting the ISM Chevrolet needed more front compliance. As most of the leaders pitted under the first caution of the night, Sauter remained on track to take over the lead but couldn’t maintain the position when the field returned to green. Sauter was overtaken by trucks with newer tires with just four laps remaining in Stage One. When the green and white checkered was waved at the stage end, Sauter pitted from the third position for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. As half of the field had pitted earlier, Sauter lined up 15th for the restart in the No. 21.
Stage Two:Working his way back into the top-10 just 15 laps into the second stage, Sauter continued to move forward in the ISM Connect Chevy. Sauter took over the fifth position coming to the stage break and pitted for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment after reporting the No. 21 was just a little tight but the handling had improved after the first pit stop. The No. 21 pit crew’s quick work gained Sauter an additional three spots on pit road to line him up second for the start of the Final Stage.
Final Stage:After a battle for the lead, Sauter took over the top position on lap 72, holding that position until caution occurred on lap 82. Coming to pit road for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment to set up a run until the end of the race, Sauter restarted sixth behind trucks that did not pit or took fuel only. When the field returned to green it took just two laps for Sauter to regain the lead. He led for the remaining 48 laps en route to his third win of the 2018 season and first win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Additional Notes: – Sauter’s win at Charlotte is his first win at the 1.5-mile track in Concord, N.C. and 20th career NCWTS win. The first 10 wins of Sauter’s career came between 2009 and 2014, with the most recent 10 wins being earned since joining GMS in 2016. – Sauter now has 20 consecutive top-10 finishes at 1.5-mile tracks. – Following the seventh race of the season, Sauter holds a 59-point lead over Noah Gragson in the NCWTS driver point standings.
Quote: Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet “Today we had a good truck in practice, but obviously the adjustments Joe (Shear, crew chief) and the guys made before the race just really brought it to life that extra little bit. It doesn’t take a lot here. This is probably…this IS the biggest win of my career. This is a challenging place. I’ve had a lot of good runs here and a lot of bad runs here, so this is a big one. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want to win in our backyard. I’m just really proud of these guys tonight.”
On 2018 success: “For me obviously being with an organization for a third year, I’m just really comfortable with what we’ve got going on. GMS is growing as an organization every year and we just keep getting better stuff out of our fab shop. This is a big deal for GMS Fabrication and all the guys. We do all of our own bodies, our own chassis, everything in house. This is a testament to over 100 peoples’ hard work all run by Mr. Beam. I’m just the lucky guy that gets to drive it.”
On having 17 Playoff Points after seven races: “I think we saw last year just how important playoff points are. It’ll afford you to have a bad day in the playoffs. I think it’s a big deal but at this point winning is fun. I don’t even think about the bonus points to be honest with you. The biggest thing for me is early success is great, it gives you a little pep in your step, but we have to keep our nose to the grindstone and I know these guys are racers so they’re going to keep working hard.”
Mike Beam, GMS Racing President “Joe and Johnny make such a good team and we’re blessed to have them. These guys come to race every week and that’s what we hired them to do. It’s just so much fun to watch. We might get beat but they come back the next week and they’re ready to go. We’re at a place right now where Joe and Johnny are comfortable and they can race here for a long time as long as they win. We don’t worry about them winning. We trust each other. We’ve got a really good team behind the two of them which makes it easier for us because they’re going to bring their best game each week. I’m just really proud of everyone at GMS and GMS Fabrication.”
No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet Silverado
Stage One: After rain cancelled NCWTS qualifying Friday afternoon, Haley lined up 11th for the start of the NC Education 200 at Charlotte later that night. Fighting a Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevy that was a little tight, crew chief Kevin Belicourt made the call to bring the No. 24 down pit road on lap 22 under the first caution of the race for four tires, fuel and slight adjustments. After a great pit stop by the Fraternal Order of Eagles team, Haley restarted sixth for the four-lap shootout to the end of Stage One. Haley was able to jump up to the second position on the restart, and he maintained that position until the end of Stage One. Electing not to pit under the stage break, Haley lined up second for the start of Stage Two on lap 38.
Stage Two:Running within the top-five for almost the entirety of Stage Two, Haley reported that his Chevrolet Silverado was still on the snug side. However, as the run progressed, Haley relayed to the team that his handling changed severely in the last 10 laps of the stage as his tires began to wear. Holding on until the end of Stage Two on tires older than the trucks he was racing, Haley scored an eighth-place finish in Stage Two. Under the caution, Haley came to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment before rejoining the field and lining up seventh for the start of the Final Stage.
Final Stage:With another great restart, Haley jumped up to fourth on lap 68 and maintained that position until the caution on lap 82. Still fighting tight conditions with his Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevy, Haley came to the attention of his team for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment. However, issues with the right rear during the pit stop relegated Haley to the 12th position for the restart. Haley made quick work to make it back into the top-five, using a couple restarts to his advantage after quick cautions. With the final restart coming on lap 125, with just 10 laps to go, Haley lined up second alongside teammate Johnny Sauter. With the No. 24 still on the tight-side, Haley battled hard to maintain his position. However contact from the No. 16 sent the Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevy up the track in the closing laps. Making a remarkable save to not hit the wall, Haley held on to the No. 24 but lost track position that he was unable to make up with only a couple laps remaining, ultimately finishing in the 14th position.
Additional Notes: – After his top-15 finish at Charlotte, Haley is sitting eighth in the NCWTS driver point standings, but has cut the deficit to one point behind seventh.
“Tonight is a tough one to swallow. I can’t thank my Fraternal Order of Eagle guys enough. They worked hard to bring us a good truck to Charlotte and we were looking to have another solid top-five night. Unfortunately, the result doesn’t reflect that, that’s racing though. You can pick who you race for, but not who you race against. I have no doubt though that my guys will go back to the shop and build us an even stronger truck for Texas in a couple weeks.”
No. 2 JEGS.com Chevrolet Silverado
Stage One: Starting 15th Friday night for the 134-lap NCWTS event, after rain cancelled qualifying, Coughlin made up a couple positions in the opening laps to run just outside the top-10. Shortly into the run however, Coughlin reported to his team that his JEGS.com Chevy was lacking grip and was plowing tight in the center and exit of the corners. Crew chief Jerry Baxter called the No. 2 down pit road under the first caution of the race, on lap 22, for four tires, fuel and major chassis adjustments, lining him up 12th for the remaining four laps of Stage One. Still fighting major handling woes, Coughlin finished Stage One in the 16th position and came to pit road under the stage break for major chassis adjustments and to top off on fuel. With a majority of the leaders electing not to pit under the stage break, Coughlin lined up 22nd for the start of Stage Two after his pit stop.
Stage Two:Trying to make up track position during Stage Two, Coughlin reported that his No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado had no compliance and was plowing tight, preventing much progress through the field. Finishing Stage Two 18th, Coughlin brought his JEGS.com machine down pit road under the caution for four tires, fuel and another round of major chassis adjustments, lining him up 16th for the final stage of the race.
Final Stage: Continuing to a fight a lack of turn off in the corners through the green-flag run, Coughlin came to pit road for the final time during the race, under caution on lap 82, for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Before going back green from the 16th position with 50 laps to go, Baxter told his driver to save fuel when he could to make it to the end of the race. Coughlin raced his way up to the 12th position before the caution came back out on lap 89 and reported that his Chevrolet Silverado seemed to fire off okay at the start but was just loose on exit. Restarting 11th on lap 93, Coughlin began fighting major handling issues again with his JEGS.com Chevy. Trying to use a couple quick restarts in the closing laps to his advantage, Coughlin was able to hold on with an ill-handling truck to finish 17th in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200.
Additional Notes: – After the Charlotte night race, Coughlin is 11th in the NCWTS driver point standings.
Quote: “It was a tough night for us and waiting around in the rain created a challenging equation for us. My JEGS.com team fought hard all night and I appreciate their hard work. We will regroup and be ready for Texas in a couple weeks. I can’t thank my team and GMS Racing enough for all that they do.”
No. 25 Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevrolet Silverado
Stage One: Dalton Sargeant started his first NCWTS race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the 12th position, after leading final practice in the Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevy, before qualifying was cancelled due to weather. Sargeant worked his way through traffic to the 12th position when the first caution of the night occurred on lap 22. Reporting he was tight behind other trucks but really like the handling of the No. 25, Doug Randolph called his driver to pit road for four tires and fuel. Sargeant restarted eighth with four laps remaining in Stage One and gained four spots on the restart to sit fourth until the end of the segment on lap 30. Having already pitted, Sargent stayed on truck at the break to restart third for Stage Two.
Stage Two: Caught on the bottom lane at the restart, Sargeant found himself sitting outside of the top-10 and fighting a Chevy that continued to get tighter throughout the second stage. With no cautions occurring in Stage Two, Sargeant advanced to the 13th position before pitting at the Stage Two break for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment for the Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevrolet, lining up 11th for the start of the Final Stage.
Final Stage: Once again caught on the bottom for the restart, Sargeant fell back in dirty air for the first 15 laps of the Final Stage. He pitted at the first caution for his last set of sticker tires and fuel. With 21 laps to go in the race, Sargeant pitted under caution for scuffed tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to help with a worsening tight condition in the closing laps. Sargeant worked up to the 14th position following the restart, but with a lot of movement in the field with 10 laps to go, he settled into the 19th position before taking the checkered flag in his first start at Charlotte.
Additional Notes: – Following Charlotte, Sargeant remains ninth in the NCWTS driver point standings and continues to lead the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.
Quote: “I had heard that Charlotte could be a tricky place to race. We started off the race pretty decent but we were just too tight in dirty air to do anything toward the end. Doug (Randolph, crew chief) and the No. 25 Performance Plus Motor Oil team did a great job tonight, we just have a little work to do to come back after the break and start knocking down top-10 finishes.”