No. 21 Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado
Johnny Sauter and the No. 21 Allegiant team qualified in the fourth position for the M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Store at Iowa Speedway, following two practice sessions earlier in the day where the driver fought a tight-handling condition.
Sauter immediately claimed the third position as the green flag waved to start the 200-lap event and reported to his team early on that his Allegiant Chevy was tight in the center and snapping loose on exit. He held that position until the end of stage one on lap 60 when crew chief Joe Shear, Jr. brought him to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He lined up fifth for the beginning of stage two and quickly regained the third position, but his advance was stalled by a caution on lap 109. Sauter returned to pit road under yellow and asked his team for the same adjustments to help with a continuous tight-handling condition.
Sauter took the lead on lap 116, just after the restart, but three laps later another lengthy caution and red flag delay caused the second stage to end under caution. He remained on track to begin the final stage from the lead and help the point position until just before the final caution period on lap 187. He regained the lead as he stayed on track while the rest of the lead lap trucks came to pit road for tires but fell back to the second position on the restart. Despite being on old tires, Sauter held on to the second position, earning his seventh top-five in nine races this season.
“I think our night was a second-place finish regardless whether it went green or not. The 29 just took me to school earlier in the night, but once he passed me I found some grip up top following the line he was running. Undoubtedly the best truck I’ve ever had here. We’ve been working hard on some stuff and if this is the direction we’re headed I feel pretty good about it. It was a decent night, we just came up a little short.”
– Sauter increased his lead in the driver championship point standings to 42 points over Christopher Bell. He has one win and 10 playoff points.
No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet
After finishing both of Friday’s practice sessions in the top-10, Justin Haley qualified the Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet Silverado in the seventh position for the M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Store at Iowa Speedway.
The 18-year-old reported to his team early on that he started of loose but would tighten up throughout the run. At the end of stage one, Haley pitted from the eighth position for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment, and he would restart from the 10th position. He ran in the top-10 until coming to pit road under caution on lap 109, when he received tires, fuel and more adjustments to help with his handling. Haley fell out of the top-10 on the restart, after being too loose, ending the second stage in the 11th position.
Crew chief Kevin Bellicourt called for his driver to stay on track with the leaders, beginning the final stage from the 11th position. Haley once again fell back on the restart but worked his way back into 11th before the caution waved for the final time on lap 187. He came to pit road for four tires and several adjustments to tighten up the Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet on the restart.
Haley drove from 10th to fourth in four laps but was collected by the No. 51 truck as he got loose under the No. 24 coming to the checkered flag. The Winimac, Ind., native was scored in the 10th position in his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Iowa Speedway.
“I’m really proud of the 24 team tonight. We started off a little off on our set up but we were still good enough to stay up front and have a shot at a good finish. Kevin (Bellicourt, crew chief) made a great call at the end to pit for tires, and made a few adjustments to make sure we’d be good on the restart. That last run there was the best we had been all night and we were on track for a top-five finish until we got taken out. We’ve found our rhythm and I know the guys will have another fast Chevrolet for me in Kentucky.”
– Haley earned his fourth consecutive top-10 finish, and his fifth top-10 in just seven starts this year.
– He is 14th in the driver championship point standings, just 16 points out of 12th.
No. 33 Kiklos Chevrolet Silverado
Making only his second NCWTS start at Iowa Speedway, Kaz and the No. 33 GMS Racing team went to work early Friday trying to dial-in the Kiklos Chevrolet Silverado during both morning practice sessions. However with qualifying occurring much later in the day, the track tightened up more than expected, hindering Kaz’s run and relinquishing him to a 16th-place starting position for the M&M’s 200.
Early on in the 200-lap event, the Boston native reported that he was struggling with an extremely loose Chevy that impeded him from getting the speed off the corners like he needed. Hanging on for the first 60-lap stage to finish 15th, Kaz came to pit road under the break for four tires, fuel and major adjustments to try tighten up the No. 33 Kiklos Chevy. However, before the field went back green, Baxter called the 18-year-old rookie back down pit road for one more adjustment, hoping to give him the security he needed in the corners.
Restarting 17th and having to work his way through lapped traffic during the ensuing laps, Kaz’s Chevy was still loose on entry, but now was fighting tight-off on the exit of the turns. The caution flag would come out on lap 109, allowing Kaz to come to pit road for four tires, fuel and another round of chassis adjustments to aid in his handling woes. With the No. 33 Kiklos Chevy handling the best it had been all night after the previous stop, Kaz began to make quick work of the competitors in front of him, trying to make up as much ground as he could. However, while racing three-wide with only a handful of laps left in the second stage, Kaz and two other trucks were involved in an accident on the backstretch. Unable to get his Chevy re-fired, Kaz was forced to end the race on lap 117, surrendering him to a 24th-place finish at Iowa.
“This is definitely not how I wanted our night to go. We had fought handling issues throughout the day, but I think Jerry (Baxter, crew chief) had finally gotten our Kiklos Chevy where it needed to be for us to make up track position. I was trying to get all I could on that restart before the end of stage two. We were three-wide in turns 1 and 2, but I didn’t realize that the No. 13 still had his nose in the middle when I came up the track while we were going down the backstretch. I just really hate it for all my GMS Racing guys. We’ll put this behind us though and move forward.”
– After the ninth race of the season, Kaz is currently 10th in the NCWTS point standings, but has one win and five bonus points towards the playoffs.