GMS RACING KANSAS NCWTS RECAP

By May 12, 2018News

JOHNNY SAUTER

No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet Silverado

Start:4th

Finish:5th

Points:1st (+35)

Stage One: Sauter reported early in the first 40-lap stage that the ISM Connect Chevy was too loose. After falling back to the eighth position on the initial start, Sauter maintained that position until the handling condition worsened as Stage One came to a close and he crossed the line in ninth. Pitting for four tires, fuel and both chassis and air pressure adjustments, an issue with the right front tire slowed the pit stop, placing Sauter 15th for the restart.

Stage Two:Eight laps into the second stage, Sauter re-entered the top-10. Once again working as high as the eighth position, Sauter said the ISM Connect Chevrolet was bouncing through the bumps in the corners, becoming tight on exit. Completing Stage Two in the eighth position, Sauter pitted for the four tires, fuel and another round of chassis adjustments, returning to the track in the 13th position.

Final Stage:Just five laps into the Final Stage, Johnny Sauter once again entered the top-10, but the caution would come out just seven laps later slowing down his progress. With several trucks pitting under the yellow, the No. 21 team elected to take four tires, fuel and another chassis adjustment in hopes of stopping for fuel only later in the race. Restarting in 13th after an uncontrolled tire penalty, Sauter began to run his fastest laps of the night as the field returned to green. With 27 laps remaining in the race, Sauter took the lead when others began coming to pit road for green flag stops.  With 13 laps to go, Sauter gave up the lead to pit for fuel only and returned to the track in the seventh position. He gained two spots in the final laps to finish fifth, earning his fifth top-five of the 2018 season.

Additional Notes:

– With a fifth-place showing at Kansas, Sauter now has two wins and five top-five finishes in six starts for 2018.

– Six races into the 2018 season, Sauter leads the NCWTS point standings by 35 points over Noah Gragson.

Quote:“We knew after the morning’s practice session that the handling wasn’t quite where it needed to be and we’d have work to do tonight. There were some problems on pit road that put us a little further back in the field for each restart, but ultimately it came down to fuel mileage and pit strategy, and we did what we had to do to try to wait out a caution and get a win. But there’s nothing to complain about with a top-five, we’ll just learn from this and move on and see if it gives us something we can use down the road.”

CODY COUGHLIN

No. 2 JEGS.com Chevrolet Silverado 

Start: 2nd

Finish: 7th

Points: 11th

Stage One: Starting on the front row for the 37 Kind Days 250 Friday night, Coughlin showed speed at the drop of the green flag. Running in the top-10 for almost the entirety of the first stage, Coughlin ultimately took the green-checkered flag, on lap 42, in the 11th position after fighting a Chevy Silverado that was plowing tight. Crew chief Jerry Baxter called Coughlin down pit road during the stage break for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to try to loosen up the No. 2 JEGS.com Chevrolet, lining him up eighth for the Stage Two restart.

Stage Two:Making his way into the top-10 running order with 15 laps to go in Stage Two, Coughlin held the position until the conclusion of the stage on lap 82. Coming to pit road under the caution, Coughlin received four fresh tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to try aid in a still tight JEGS.com Chevy. Gaining spots all night on pit road, the No. 2 pit crew got Coughlin back on track in the eighth position for the start of the final stage.

Final Stage: Getting a great restart on lap 88, Coughlin jumped into the top-five and began running the trucks down in front of him. With the caution coming out on lap 100 and lap 107, Coughlin reported both times to his No. 2 team that he was still a bit on the snug side. During both cautions though, Baxter elected to keep Coughlin on-track as they were not in their fuel window to make it to the end of the race. Coughlin restarted fourth on lap 110, and throughout the run reported that his Chevy Silverado was just too tight to make up any ground. With a long green-flag run, Baxter called Coughlin down pit road, under green on lap 135, for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment, where he rejoined the field and was scored 13th. As varying pit strategies played out, and the race remained green until the end, Coughlin raced his way back into the top-10 to score a seventh-place finish in the 37 Kind Days 250, his best NCWTS finish at Kansas Speedway.

Additional Notes:

–      Coughlin’s second-place qualifying effort at Kansas is a NCWTS career-best for the JEGS.com driver.

–      This weekend’s efforts, starting on the front row and finishing seventh, is a track-best weekend for Coughlin at Kansas Speedway.

–      After the Friday night race at Kansas, Coughlin is 11th in the NCWTS driver point standings.

Quote: “Tonight’s race at Kansas (Speedway) was really exciting. We are definitely knocking on the door of a top-five finish and a win for both JEGS and GMS Racing. It was great being able to start up front, I just wish we could have finished up there as well. We gained a lot of insight as a team and are excited to head to Charlotte next week with momentum.”

JUSTIN HALEY

No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet Silverado 

Start: 12th

Finish: 10th

Points: 8th

Stage One: Rolling off 12th for the start of the 37 Kind Days 250, Haley settled into the top-15 running order during the opening laps. Halfway through the stage, Haley reported that his Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevy was really loose on landing, but eventually would become tight on the exit of the corners. Holding on to an ill-handling truck, Haley finished Stage One in the 13th position. Crew chief Kevin Bellicourt called the No. 24 down pit road under the break, for four tires, fuel and both an air pressure and chassis adjustment, lining Haley up ninth for the restart.

Stage Two:Still fighting handling woes throughout Stage Two, Haley reported that his Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevy felt much looser than the last green-flag run. Holding on until the end of the stage on lap 82, Haley took the green-checkered flag running in the 12th position. Looking to gain track position and clean air for the Final Stage, Bellicourt elected to take two tires, fuel and make both an air pressure and chassis adjustment to try tighten up the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado. With the pit strategy, Haley lined up first for the restart on lap 88.

Final Stage:Unfortunately on the restart Haley’s Chevy couldn’t get up to speed fast enough, trapping him in the middle lane. Once Haley could settle in the 12th position, he reported that he was he wrecking loose. When the caution came out on lap 100 for debris, Bellicourt called Haley down pit road for a chassis adjustment and fuel only, lining him up 10th for the restart. Despite still fighting handling issues on the No. 24, a long green-flag ensued initiating varying pit strategy. After topping off on fuel under a previous caution, Haley was able to stay on track longer than some of the leaders working his way into the top-five running order. However with the race remaining green, Haley had to come to pit road with 15 laps remaining for a splash of fuel to make it to the end. Rejoining the field while still under green, Haley was able to race his way back into the top-10 before the conclusion of the race, scoring a 10th-place finish at Kansas Speedway.

Additional Notes:

–      This is Haley’s third consecutive top-10 finish, and his fourth top-10 finish of the 2018 NCWTS season.

–      With his top-10 finish at Kansas, Haley is sitting eighth in the NCWTS driver point standings.

DALTON SARGEANT

No. 25 Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevrolet Silverado

Start:11th

Finish:11th

Points: 9th

Stage One: Dalton Sargeant made his first NCWTS start at Kansas Speedway from the 11th position for Friday night’s race.  A lot of movement on the initial start saw Sargeant sitting just outside of the top-10 as he battled a tight handling-condition early in the 167-lap event. As the stage came to a close with the No. 25 in the 14th position, Sargeant pitted for four tires, fuel, and both chassis and air pressure adjustments to help the worsening tight condition, with the Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevy rejoining the field in the 10th position.

Stage Two: Sargeant raced his way up to the eighth position at the start of Stage Two, however, as the No. 25 was looking to move into seventh, Sargeant got loose and lost a few positions as he saved his Chevrolet from spinning. Sargeant worked to gain back the lost positions but with the field spreading out, he crossed the line 15th to end the stage. He reported he was starting off the run too loose, with the handling getting tighter as the run progressed. He pitted under caution for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, restarting 10th.

Final Stage: Running inside the top-10 in the early laps of the final stage, Sargeant took advantage of two cautions to pit for fuel only. He restarted in the ninth position with just over 50 laps to go and worked his way as high as sixth before being forced to pit under green on lap 154. He returned to the track just outside of the top-10. With no caution in the final laps to bring the field back together, Sargeant finished his first NCWTS race at Kansas Speedway in the eleventh position.

Additional Notes:

– With an 11th place finish in his first NCWTS start at Kansas, Sargeant was the highest finishing rookie in the 37 Kind Days 250.

– Sargeant is ninth in the NCWTS driver point standings and now leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.

Quote: 

“Unfortunately our finish won’t reflect how we ran or the truck that this GMS Racing team gave me. The Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevy Silverado was pretty decent and most definitely a top-10 truck, we just struggled with some handling issues and bad luck throughout the first two stages. We decided to gamble on fuel mileage to get us solidly inside the top-10 but ran out of fuel a few laps from the end and had to pit under green. We tried gambling and hoping for a late race caution but it just never came and put us just barely outside the top-10. I think it was a step in the right direct for this team and we’re certainly looking forward to another speedway next week in Charlotte.”

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