GMS RACING NCWTS ATLANTA RECAP

By February 26, 2018News

JOHNNY SAUTER
No. 21 Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado

Start: 9th
Finish: 3rd
Points: 1st

Stage One: Sauter finished Stage One in the seventh position after battling a tight condition for the first 40 laps. Under the caution, crew chief Joe Shear, Jr., called the No. 21 in for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to provide more front grip and better rotation for the Allegiant Chevrolet.

Stage Two: Sauter gained five spots on pit road to begin the second stage from the second position, eventually taking the lead for the first time of the race on lap 51. He continued to suffer from a lack of frontgrip, but was able to complete Stage Two in the second position before pitting once again for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment at the break. Quick work from the No. 21 pit crew earned Sauter the lead off pit road.

Final Stage: Sauter led for the first nine laps of the final stage before falling back to the second position. With lapped traffic slowing his advance to challenge for the lead, the No. 21 team hoped for a caution late in the race. With six laps to go, the yellow flag waved and Sauter came to pit road for four tires, restarting second in NASCAR Overtime. After being taken three-wide on the restart, Sauter fell back to the third position as he crossed the start-finish line.

Quote:
“I would love to be able to tell you I could do something different, but I just don’t think I could have. Wide open is wide open, and I ran those final laps wide open. I felt like we were in the right position and it just didn’t work out. My pit crew is phenomenal. Those guys are ultimately the ones that got us track position all night. I’m going to beat myself up for a week on this one, because I just don’t know what I could’ve done differently, so I’ll have to go back and watch to see if there is anything I missed. But, I feel good going intoVegas where we had a fast truck last year, especially seeing how fast we were here.”

DALTON SARGEANT
No. 25 Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevrolet Silverado

Start: 6th
Finish: 14th
Points: 7th

Stage One: Fighting an extremely loose handling Performance Plus Chevrolet Silverado as soon as the race started, Sargeant did his best to hold on, finishing Stage One in the 14th position. Crew chief Doug Randolph called for four tires, fuel and adjustments for the No. 25 under the stage break and Sargeant lined up 12th for the restart.

Stage Two: Still fighting handling issues throughout Stage Two, Sargeant cracked the top-10 after 80 laps, finishing the stage in 10th-place. Sargeant hit pit road under the caution for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments, returning to the track in 10th for the restart.

Final Stage: Running just outside the top-10 as the laps were winding down, Sargeant continued to combat the handling of his Performance Plus Chevy. However, with four laps remaining, the No. 33 spun in front of Sargeant, and despite trying to avoid the accident, Sargeant sustained right side damage. Sargeant came to pit road three times under the caution for damage repair and fresh tires, but still remained on the lead lap. Sargeant ultimately crossed the finish line in 14th place after a green-white-checkered finish ended the race on lap 134.

Quote:

“Tonight was a tough race for us. Atlanta is a difficult track and I struggled with managing the grip level. We missed the handling by just a bit on the short runs, and by the time the truck started coming around, it was too late. I think we could have had a much better finish, but it was just wrong place, wrong time when the 33 truck spun. It was a good learning weekend for all of us, and we had a really good pace at different times throughout the weekend. That’s something we can build on moving forward. I think we have a good plan though heading to Las Vegas (Motor Speedway), and I look forward to working with the team some more.”

CODY COUGHLIN
No. 2 JEGS.com Chevrolet Silverado

Start: 8th
Finish: 20th
Points: 16th

Stage One: Running as high as fourth, Coughlin finished Stage One in the 11th position. He reported that his JEGS.com Chevrolet Silverado was “loose on entry and tight center off” throughout the first 40 laps and came to the attention of his pit crew under the stage break. While on pit road Coughlin received four tires, fuel and round of adjustments, lining up ninth for the restart.

Stage Two: Running inside the top-10 during Stage Two, Coughlin relayed that his Chevy’s handing was still too tight on exit. As the run progressed, Coughlin suspected that his right front tire was giving up. Coughlin was able to stay on track despite the tire issue to finish Stage Two in 15th. He then pitted for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments under the stage break, but an issue on the stop forced Crew Chief Jerry Baxter to call Coughlin down pit road a second time to top off on fuel, relegating him to 19th on the restart.

Final Stage: Working his way through traffic while running his fastest laps of the race, Coughlin made his way into the top-15 as the laps were winding down. However, with just over 10 laps remaining, Coughlin reported that his right front tire was giving him issues again. Despite trying to salvage his tire to the finish, Coughlin ultimately came to pit road under green, initially for two right side tires, with six laps remaining. While he was on pit road, the caution came out, and Baxter made the quick decision to change all four tires instead. However, after a pit road penalty, NASCAR ruled the No. 2 one lap down. With a green-white-checkered finish to end the race, Coughlin was scored with a 20th-place finish.

Quote:
“We had a fast JEGS.com Chevy at the beginning of the race, we just got progressively tighter as the race went on. Despite being tight, we had two separate tire issues that really ended our competitive night. The last one coming with only a few laps to go was just bad luck. The speed we showed though has me optimistic for when our luck does turn around.”

JUSTIN HALEY
No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet

Start: 5th
Finish: 22nd
Points: 10th

Stage One: Haley started from the fifth position before reporting that he was fighting tight with no rear downforce. He fell back to the 14th position prior to telling the team he had a flat right rear on lap 32. Pitting under green, Haley lost two laps to the leaders, relegating him to a 25th-place Stage One finish. Coming to the green and white checkered flag, Haley stated there was still an issue with the Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet. He pitted twice under the break, first for the team to diagnose and then repair a part failure.

Stage Two: An early caution, 14 laps into Stage Two, allowed Haley to return to pit road under yellow for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to aid a loose handling condition. Pitting under the caution allowed the team to stay on track at the conclusion of Stage Two to gain back a lap. Haley took the wave around to start the final stage in the 22nd position, now only one lap down to the leaders.

Final Stage: After pitting off-sequence from the leaders, the No. 24 team hoped for a caution in the first half of the final stage, as they could not make it to the end on fuel. With the race staying green, Haley came to pit road on lap 111 for right-side tires and fuel, losing another lap. When the final caution of the night occurred on lap 126, Haley stayed on track to earn a lap back, ultimately finishing 22nd in his first start at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Additional Notes:
– Following a second-place result at Daytona International Speedway a week ago, Haley started off his Atlanta debut with a first and third-place showing in NCWTS practice sessions on Friday. He followed that up with a fifth-place qualifying effort, the highest of the four GMS trucks.

Quote:
“It was cool to show up to Atlanta and experience what all the hype was about. Having an abrasive track surface created amazing racing and really fast speeds. The Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet was so fast in practice and qualifying, which made it all the more heartbreaking when we had our part failure on lap one. We say it all the time, how far our mile-and-a-half program has come, but now we’re showing everyone else the hard work GMS Fabrication puts into our chassis.”

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