GMS RACING NCWTS MICHIGAN RECAP

By August 13, 2017News

JOHNNY SAUTER

No. 21 Karl Chevrolet Chevrolet Silverado MICHIGAN RECAP

Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 21 Karl Chevrolet Chevrolet for GMS Racing, started from the second position for the LTi Printing 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Sauter took the green flag from the front row for the sixth time this season, but fell back on the initial start to the fourth position. He continued to run in the top-five, making a bold move from the third position to briefly take the lead with 20 laps remaining in the first stage. Sauter reported to crew chief Joe Shear, Jr., that his Silverado had no rear grip as he ran in fifth with eight laps until the stage break on lap 30. As the caution came out, Sauter visited pit road from the fifth position for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to help with the loose-handling condition. He restarted from 11th on lap 37, making his way back into the top 10 in just two laps. Just five laps later he relayed that he had a tire going down and came to pit road for right-side tires and fuel. Sauter returned to the field in the 18th position, one lap down, when the third caution of the day occurred on lap 53. Returning to the lead lap, he brought the No. 21 to the attention of his pit crew for big adjustments to help with a worsening loose condition. Sauter continued to fight the handling of his Silverado for the last seven laps of the second stage before returning to pit road for additional adjustments during the break.

Sauter re-entered the top 10 on lap 79, but as the field closed in on the final 10 laps of the race, he told the team he thought he had another tire issue. He received right-side tires after making it to pit road, but was once again one lap down in the 18th position. Sauter held his position as the first truck one lap down, crossing the line in 18th for just his third finish outside of the top 10 in 2017.

QUOTE
“Another tough day for our team, but fortunately we haven’t had many of those this year. These guys worked hard to get us back to the front, but it seemed like this was just one of those days where everything that could happen did. I can’t think Karl Chevrolet and Carl Moyer enough for coming on board this weekend, just wish we could have had a better result for them. We will get it turned around in the next few days and show up to Bristol ready to get another win.”

ADDITIONAL INFO
– Sauter is second in NCWTS driver championship points, 37 points behind leader Christopher Bell. He has one win and 10 playoff points.

JUSTIN HALEY
No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet

MICHIGAN RECAP
Justin Haley, driver of the No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet for GMS Racing, qualified seventh for his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Michigan International Speedway. Haley dropped back to ninth as the green flag waved but maintained his position in the top-10 past halfway in the first stage. With 10 laps remaining until the break at lap 30, he reported to crew chief Kevin Bellicourt that the No. 24 was tight as he fell back to the 12th position.

Under the stage one caution, Haley visited pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment, restarting from 15th as several teams took two tires. As the field returned to green, the 18-year-old gained two positions and continued to work his way back in the top 10. He relayed to the team that his truck was handling well when he was on his own, but it was tight in traffic. When the caution was shown on lap 53, he pitted for right side tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment. He restarted in the top 10 with just five laps left in the second stage, running seventh as the caution came out on lap 62 for the break.

Confident with the adjustments made during the last stop, Bellicourt elected to leave his driver on track during the break, taking over the lead for the start of the final 35-lap stage. Haley led the field back to green on lap 66 but lost the lead the same lap just as the fifth caution of the day occurred. Scored in the second position, Haley restarted in the second position on lap 72 but began to fall back as the top line had momentum on the restart. Haley briefly fell outside of the top-10 with 20 laps to go but fought to regain position within the top 10. He crossed the line in the tenth position for his ninth top-10 finish in 11 starts this season.
QUOTE
“I’m really happy for our Fraternal Order of Eagles team. We got another solid top-10 finish and were able to stay out of trouble, but I think we could have ultimately had a top-three finish had things fallen the right way earlier in the last stage. Regardless, we’ve been really consistent these last eight race and I feel like we’re close to a win. We’ve proven we can run up front, we just need to put it all together to be there at the finish.”

ADDITIONAL INFO
– Haley is 12th in the NCWTS driver championship point standings, just 45 points out of 10th.

– He earned his eighth consecutive top-10 finish, ninth total in just his 11th start this season.

KAZ GRALA

No. 33 ChargeCords.com Chevrolet Silverado  MICHIGAN RECAP
Making his debut at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), it didn’t take long for Kaz to get acclimated to the speed of the two-mile oval. Finishing seventh-fastest in first practice and 11th-fastest in final practice on Friday, Kaz translated that speed over to Saturday in qualifying, making it to the final round and securing a 12th-place starting position for the LTi Printing 200.

With an aggressive start to the race, Kaz quickly found himself knocking on the door of the top-five within the first couple laps of the 100-lap race. Running solidly within the top-10 for almost the entirety of Stage 1, Kaz reported that his ChargeCords.com Chevrolet Silverado was about a “one loose” towards the end of the run. Under the stage break, crew chief Jerry Baxter called Kaz down pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to try tightening him up.

Restarting 12th for Stage 2, Kaz once again worked his way within the top-10 running order after a few laps, ultimately finishing the second stage sixth. Coming down pit road under the stage break, Kaz received four tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment to continue to tighten the ChargeCords.com Chevrolet up. However, a fueling issue on the stop forced Kaz to return to pit road before the race went back green to top off on fuel. Restarting 15th after the issue on pit road, Kaz used the remaining laps of the race to work his way to a 12th-place finish in his MIS debut.
QUOTE
“We had a solid day at Michigan (International Speedway). I can honestly say I learned a lot from today’s race. My ChargeCords.com Chevy was fast, but being back in dirty air after the final pit stop really made my Chevy tight and hard to handle. Hopefully today’s race is an indication that our luck is turning around.”
ADDITIONAL INFO
– After the 13th race of the season, Kaz is currently 11th in the NCWTS point standings, but has one win and five bonus points towards the playoffs.

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