Parker Kligerman thought two tires would be the way to go when the field cycled through green-flag pit stops with about 30 laps to go in the WinStar World Casino 350 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night. The strategy did get him out in front of previous leader Johnny Sauter, but Kligerman’s time up front was only temporary. Sauter retook the lead with 11 laps to go and drove on to the Texas win.
“I thought it was going to work out,” Kligerman said of the call to take two. “I was flipping blowers, doing everything I could to hold him off.”
The win made for a Texas sweep of Truck Series competition at the track in 2012 for Sauter. He won when the series last visited the Lone Star State earlier this year. The two wins are a couple of bright spots in what has been a lackluster year, for the most part, for the driver.
“It’s been a season of peaks and valleys, for sure,” Sauter said in victory lane.
Sauter took the lead from Nelson Piquet Jr. with 48 laps to go in the 147 lap event and led the way until Kligerman’s pit strategy got him out front after the late-race cycle of stops.
“I knew he only took two tires, so it was just a matter of time,” Sauter said of getting back by Kligerman to move back into the lead.
Kligerman was able to hold off the rest of the field to take runner-up honors.
“I hate finishing second,” Kligerman said. “This truck hates finishing second.
After Piquet started on the pole and led the opening laps of the race, series points leader and Piquet’s Turner Motorsports teammate James Buescher got to the lead on a restart following a caution that came out on lap 31, but lost the position when the yellow flag waved again on lap 64.
When the race went back to green following the lap 64 caution, the action went three and four-wide and Buescher sustained damage to one of his rear quarter panels. The damage made for an ill-handling race truck and resulted in the points leader losing positions on the race track for the remainder of the event. He wound up finishing 11th, the final truck on the lead lap.
Piquet finished third, and Kyle Busch was fourth after spending significant time on pit road with the hood up on his truck as his team worked on what appeared to be an ignition problem.
Ty Dillon finished fifth and cut into Buescher’s points lead, moving from 21 points back to within 15 points of the leader.
Finishing sixth through 10th were Matt Crafton, Joey Coulter, Todd Bodine, Aric Almirola and Timothy Peters.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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