DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Wrecked a year ago while leading late in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway, Johnny Sauter found redemption Friday night at the 2.5-mile superspeedway in winning the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250.
Sauter collected the seventh victory of his NCWTS career under caution, thanks to a timely accident that froze the field after he had taken the white flag. Kyle Busch ran second, followed by Ron Hornaday Jr., Justin Lofton and Jeb Burton.
Ty Dillon, Miguel Paludo, Ryan Blaney, Matt Crafton and Ryan Sieg completed the top 10.
The win was the 100th in the Truck Series for Toyota, which began competition in the series in 2004.
Sauter's first victory in the No. 98 Thorsport Tundra was Toyota's seventh straight win at Daytona.
"It's a lot harder to win restrictor-plate races than you think," Sauter said. "I'm so proud of our effort. I'm speechless, even to this point. After last year, coming so close and getting taken out there toward the end of the race? we did everything right tonight.
"This was a different kind of race than I thought it was going to be. I was totally wrong. I thought there were going to be a lot more wrecks than that. I thought we could run three-wide, and we couldn't do that. We could only run two-wide? with our new number, No. 98, in Victory Lane the first time out -- I'm pretty proud of that."
PRESS PASS: Johnny Sauter
Unable to make a move on the final lap, Busch was frustrated once again in trying to win for the first time in a truck he owns.
"I was just biding my time most of the day, sitting in the right place, I felt like, got the lead a couple of times, probably didn't fall back worse than fifth or sixth, did some good bump-drafting with some guys and whatnot," Busch said. "There at the end, man, I thought I was in the perfect spot, running second there, right behind Johnny.
"I was somehow going to make a move on the last lap, but it was only a 99-lap race today."
Aside from Scott Riggs' blown engine -- the cause of the first caution on Lap 26 -- the race was a model of decorum until Lap 54, when Brendan Gaughan tried to put his truck into a gap that closed before he completed the move.
The result was a 14-truck melee that sidelined Gaughan, polesitter Brennan Newberry, Bryan Silas and Chris Fontaine.
A subsequent caution called after Jason White's Chevrolet smacked the outside wall gave the field a chance to pit for fuel, ensuring that all trucks could make it to the end of the scheduled 250 miles without refueling.
Sauter was leading the pack with eight laps left when Ryan Truex's Chevrolet was hung in the middle lane and began falling back through the field. Truex lost control and triggered a five-truck wreck that wiped out the Toyota of Timothy Peters.
That set up a five-lap shootout with Sauter and Todd Bodine coming to the green side by side. Bodine lost ground on the restart, ceding the second spot to Busch, who trailed Sauter as the top 12 trucks in the running order ran single-file on the bottom of the track.
Moments after Sauter took the white flag, an accident involving defending series champion James Buescher, Joey Coulter, John King and Jeff Agnew caused the sixth caution of the race, and Sauter took the checkered flag under caution.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race - NextEra Energy Resources 250
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
Friday, February 22, 2013
1. (25) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, 100, $73310.
2. (6) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 100, $46900.
3. (4) Ron Hornaday Jr., Chevrolet, 100, $33920.
4. (2) Justin Lofton, Chevrolet, 100, $28285.
5. (7) Jeb Burton #, Chevrolet, 100, $24835.
6. (5) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 100, $18610.
7. (8) Miguel Paludo, Chevrolet, 100, $17610.
8. (11) Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 100, $16610.
9. (17) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 100, $15610.
10. (31) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 100, $15885.
11. (26) Todd Bodine, Toyota, 100, $14510.
12. (14) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Toyota, 100, $12085.
13. (3) James Buescher, Chevrolet, 100, $15235.
14. (16) Ross Chastain, Ford, 100, $14110.
15. (33) Chris Cockrum, Toyota, 100, $14785.
16. (24) Tim George Jr., Ford, 100, $13810.
17. (32) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 100, $13705.
18. (21) John King, Chevrolet, 100, $11335.
19. (13) Dakoda Armstrong, Chevrolet, 100, $13485.
20. (36) Dusty Davis, Chevrolet, 100, $11760.
21. (28) John Wes Townley, Toyota, 100, $13285.
22. (10) Joey Coulter, Toyota, 100, $13185.
23. (30) Jeff Agnew, Chevrolet, Accident, 99, $13060.
24. (12) Max Gresham, Chevrolet, Accident, 99, $11685.
25. (20) German Quiroga #, Toyota, 97, $11735.
26. (19) Clay Greenfield, RAM, 95, $10485.
27. (23) Timothy Peters, Toyota, Accident, 92, $10335.
28. (9) Ryan Truex #, Chevrolet, Accident, 91, $10235.
29. (15) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 74, $10135.
30. (29) Jason White(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 61, $10535.
31. (34) David Starr, Toyota, Suspension, 58, $9985.
32. (27) Bryan Silas, Ford, Accident, 54, $9935.
33. (1) Brennan Newberry #, Chevrolet, Accident, 54, $12185.
34. (22) Chris Fontaine, Toyota, Accident, 53, $9830.
35. (35) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, Engine, 37, $9780.
36. (18) Scott Riggs, Chevrolet, Engine, 25, $9692.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 141.598 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 45 Mins, 56 Secs. Margin of Victory: Caution.
Caution Flags: 6 for 20 laps.
Lead Changes: 11 among 6 drivers.
Lap Leaders: 0; J. Lofton 1-6; T. Dillon 7-17; J. Buescher 18; T. Dillon 19-60; J. Sauter 61; T. Dillon 62-64; T. Bodine 65-68; K. Busch(i) 69; T. Bodine 70-73; K. Busch(i) 74-84; J. Sauter 85-100.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): T. Dillon 3 times for 56 laps; J. Sauter 2 times for 17 laps; K. Busch(i) 2 times for 12 laps; T. Bodine 2 times for 8 laps; J. Lofton 1 time for 6 laps; J. Buescher 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 10 in Points: J. Sauter - 47; R. Hornaday Jr. - 41; J. Lofton - 41; T. Dillon - 40; J. Burton # - 39; M. Paludo - 37; R. Blaney # - 36; M. Crafton - 35; R. Sieg - 34; T. Bodine - 34.
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