No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet Silverado
Points: 1st (+77)
Stage One: Johnny Sauter started from the fifth position for his 20th career Texas Motor Speedway start. He reported early in the event that he was too free, lacking front grip on entry. Staying on track through three cautions in the first 42-lap stage, Sauter worked his way as high as third before settling into the fourth position for the end of Stage One. He pitted for right side tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, lining up to start the second stage from ninth.
Stage Two: Sauter continued to fight a progressively loose handling condition in the ISM Connect Chevy as he run just outside the top-five. A caution with seven laps remaining in Stage Two allowed the No. 21 team to pit for four tires, fuel and another chassis adjustment. Going back green with just three laps left in Stage Two, Sauter crossed the line in the ninth position and stayed on track under caution to start the Final Stage from the third position.
Final Stage: After a short battle for the lead, Sauter settled into the second position before making his last stop of the night under caution on lap 108. Pitting for fuel and a chassis adjustment, Sauter lined up second for the restart. Taking over the lead on lap 117 from teammate Justin Haley, Sauter held the top position for the final 51 laps and a two-lap shootout to close out the PPG 400. Sauter crossed the line first, earning back-to-back wins, his fourth NCWTS win of 2018, and his fifth win at Texas Motor Speedway.
– With his fourth win of the season at Texas Motor Speedway, Sauter now has five wins at the 1.5-mile track and 21 career NCWTS wins. He has now matched his career-best total for wins in a single season.
– Sauter now has 21 consecutive top-10 finishes at 1.5-mile tracks and has qualified in the top-10 for all eight races this season.
– Sauter holds a 77-point lead over Noah Gragson in the NCWTS driver point standings.
Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet
“The restart was the most important part of it. When you’re battling fuel mileage like we were you’re battling between a rock and a hard place because you really can’t scrub your tires up, clean them up good, because you’re saving fuel. It puts you in a tight spot there. We were able to get a good restart. I just timed each restart a little differently and waited longer on that one. Justin Haley gave me a great little shove there to get me out and get me clear. I actually ran out of fuel getting into turn three on the last lap but got back into the banking and it recranked and carried speed all the way through turn four before it started stumbling. I just can’t thank GMS Racing, GMS Fabrication and the 21 team enough.
We executed with strategy and led a lot of laps. The biggest thing we’ve got to do now is keep our nose to the grindstone and not get complacent. We’ve got long way to go so we’ve got to stay hungry.”
Joe Shear, Jr., crew chief of the No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet
“This win is really special to me. I lost my wife in late December and she was from Dallas, TX. She always came to this race with us, her family always came out here, it was always a big race for me and still is. I’m at a loss for words. She was definitelylooking over us today.”
Ron Booth, Ownership Representative
“This was a big night for GMS Racing and GMS Fabrication. Friesen took the pole, we took the top three spots in the race. That’s a testament to the guys at the shop and Mike Beam and the program that’s been ongoing for the last two years. So this is a big night for us, and Texas has always treated us pretty well, so we’re very pleased.”
No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet Silverado
Stage One: Starting from the 10th position Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway, Haley gained a couple of positions early on. However, as the green flag run ensued, he dropped back to ninth reporting that his Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevy was just too tight. With the caution coming out on lap 29, crew chief Kevin Bellicourt called the No. 24 down pit road for two right side tires, one can of fuel and a chassis adjustment to try to loosen Haley’s Chevrolet Silverado up. Restarting 14th with seven laps to go in Stage One, Haley was able to race his way within the top-10, finishing the stage in the eighth position. After pitting just a few laps earlier, Haley remained on track under the stage break, lining him up second for the start of Stage Two.
Stage Two: Firing off too free on the restart, Haley fell back to the fifth position, but as the run continued he fell back to seventh still fighting an ill-handling Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet. With only five laps remaining in Stage Two, the caution came out and varying pit strategy once again had Haley restarting third after electing not to pit. With a one-lap shootout to the stage break, Haley was able to maintain his position and finish Stage Two in third place. Coming to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment for the No. 24, Haley rejoined the field in the 12th position for the start of the Final Stage after a few of the leaders elected not to pit.
Final Stage: Haley quickly began fighting his way through traffic, making his way up to the sixth position before the caution came out on lap 108. Still not entirely happy with his Chevrolet Silverado’s handling, Haley came to pit road under the caution for two tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment but was told to save as much fuel as possible in case the race were to go green for the remaining laps. Restarting fifth on lap 114, Haley got a great run going into Turn One, allowing himself to be in position to grab the race lead going down the back stretch. Leading until lap 116, when teammate Johnny Sauter took over the top spot, Haley went into fuel saving mode, drafting off the No. 21 and following in his tracks. As the laps continued to wind down, Haley remained within striking distance of Sauter until the caution came out on lap 151. Bellicourt elected not to bring the No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevy down pit road but reminded his driver to continue to save fuel. Still having issues firing off on restarts, Haley fell back to third but had one more shot at the win as the caution came out on lap 160, setting up a two-lap sprint to the end. When the field went back green, Haley found himself in a three-way battle for the lead, ultimately crossing the finish line in third-place, a track-best finish for the 19-year-old.
– Friday night’s third-place finish is Haley’s best NCWTS finish at Texas Motor Speedway. It is also his second top-five and third top-10 finish in three starts there, never finishing worse than sixth at the 1.5-mile track.
– Haley has three top-three finishes in the 2018 NCWTS season after eight races.
– After his third-place finish in the “Lone Star State”, Haley is still eighth in the NCWTS driver point standings, 34 points above The Playoff cut line.
“We really lacked raw speed today, which isn’t really where we’ve been this season, usually we’ve been in the top-five in overall raw speed. Qualifying 10th was a little bit of a struggle, trying to play track position and get up to the front. We just managed our tires and fuel right, it just came down to those final restarts. I did everything I could to push Johnny (Sauter) out of the way to try get by him for our first win, but overall it was just a really good showing for the No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles team and GMS Racing. Johnny is good and I love being his teammate, I’m just tired of chasing him. I guess I need to pick his brain a bit moreto out run him.”
No. 2 Flying Eyes® / JEGS.com Chevrolet Silverado
Stage One: Rolling off 14th for Friday night’s PPG 400, Coughlin utilized the first couple of early cautions of the night to maneuver his way into the top-10 running order. Just past halfway in Stage One, Coughlin reported that his Flying Eyes® / JEGS.com Chevy was pushing tight and only getting tighter in the corners as the run progressed. With the caution coming out with 11 laps remaining in Stage One, crew chief Jerry Baxter elected not to pit, allowing Coughlin to finish the stage, when the field went back green, with valuable stage points in the fifth position. Bringing the No. 2 to pit road under the stage break for four tires, fuel and both air pressure and chassis adjustments, Coughlin lined up 14th for the start of Stage Two with varying pit strategy taking place amongst the leaders.
Stage Two: Shortly after going green for Stage Two, Coughlin came on the radio and reported that he felt like he had a tire going down. Taking a lap to feel it out, Coughlin ultimately hit pit road under green on lap 50 for four fresh tires and a splash of fuel. Returning to the track in the 21st position, two laps down, Coughlin’s GMS Racing team informed him that he had a loose right rear wheel. Baxter and the No. 2 team went to work coming up with a game plan to get Coughlin back on the lead lap as Stage Two was coming to a close. Finishing Stage Two in the 18th position, Coughlin received the “lucky dog,” getting one of his two laps back. Still fighting a truck that was too tight, Coughlin brought his Flying Eyes® / JEGS.com Chevy to pit road for four tires, fuel and major chassis adjustments, lining up 18th for the start of the Final Stage.
Final Stage: Positioning himself the first truck one lap down early on in the run, Coughlin was able to get his final lap back when the caution came out on lap 108. Coming to pit road for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments, Coughlin rejoined the field but hit pit road with one lap to go before they went back green to top off on fuel. Back on the lead lap and restarting 16th, Coughlin made quick work to make up ground and found himself back in the top-10 with 50 laps to go. Trying to save fuel in case the race went green to the end, Coughlin remained in the 10th position, still fighting a Chevrolet Silverado that was tight on the exit of the corners, as the laps wound down. However, a caution on lap 151 allowed Baxter to make the call to bring the No. 2 to pit road one final time for four tires, fuel and more adjustments, lining Coughlin up 11th with 13 laps remaining. Using the fresh tires to his advantage, Coughlin was able to work his way up to the eighth position, crossing the finish line with his best NCWTS finish at Texas Motor Speedway.
– Coughlin’s eighth-place finish Friday night is his best finish at Texas Motor Speedway, as well as his third top-10 finish in the last four races, and his fourth top-10 finish of the 2018 NCWTS season.
– After this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, Coughlin remains 11th in the NCWTS driver point standings.
“Tonight was definitely great to get another top-10 finish. We worked together to rally against some difficulties early on and still finished well. We will get that ‘W’ soon. It was so nice to have my family, girlfriend, Don Osmond and everyone from Flying Eyes® here tonight, too. I can’t thank Jerry (Baxter, crew chief), my team and GMS Racing enough for their hard work.”
No. 25 Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevrolet Silverado
Start: 28th (to the rear)
Stage One: After heavy contact with the wall in the first round of qualifying for the PPG 400, Dalton Sargeant made his first start at Texas Motor Speedway from the rear after the No. 25 team rushed to repair their Chevrolet, not having enough time to go to a back up before the race. Sargeant quickly gained ground, entering the top-15 by lap six. Battling a tight-handling Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevy, Sargeant and team took advantage of early cautions to make adjustments. With the last 10 laps of Stage One going green, Sargeant crossed the line in 13th and stayed on track under caution to start the second stage from the fourth position.
Stage Two: Running in the top-10 for majority of the second stage, Sargeant visited pit road under caution with just three laps left in the stage for four tires, fuel and big adjustments for the No. 25 Chevy. The team finished Stage Two in 12th and once again stayed out at the break to restart in the sixth position.
Final Stage: In what looked to be a repeat of Stage Two, Sargeant held position within the top-10 for nearly the entirety of the Final Stage. A caution on lap 108 saw Sargeant visit pit road for his last set of new tires, fuel and a small adjustment as he was happy with the handling of his Chevy. The No. 25 restarted 11th and Sargeant held position before reporting the last changes had swung the handling in the other direction and he was getting free entering Turn 4. A late race caution with 15 laps to go allowed the team to go back on their previous adjustments and provide Sargeant with a set of scuffed tires. Sargeant made a successful comeback in the Performance Plus Oil Chevrolet, running in the top-10 for nearly half of the 167-lap race before crossing the line in the 11th position in his first start at Texas Motor Speedway.
– Sargeant has 2 top-10 finishes and has finished outside the top-15 only once in the first eight races.
– Sargeant is ninth in the NCWTS driver championship point standings and continues to lead the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings following the eighth race of the 2018 season.
“It was a good night for our Performance Plus Motor Oil, GMS Racing team. I put us behind at the beginning by starting last, but the team rallied back all race long to get some track position and compete inside the top-10 for most of the race. This was a really strong night for GMS Racing as an organization with a 1-2-3 finish, and I’m happy and proud to be a part of a team that is succeeding week in and week out. We’re definitely getting closer to consistent finishes so I’m looking forward to one of my favorite tracks next week, at Iowa Speedway, to see if we can take the next step and finish inside the top-10.”