Johnny Sauter wins out in front of big wreck at Talladega

With several other front runners wrecking behind him, Johnny Sauter raced toward the checkered flag in the Fred’s 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Saturday.

“This is awesome,” Sauter said of the win. “So proud of everybody at ThorSport.”

The win at Talladega was Sauter’s third win of the season and gave him a sweep of the circuit’s two superspeedway races, as he won at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February.

David Starr finished second, while Ross Chastain took third. Parker Kligerman finished fourth and Dakoda Armstrong was fifth.

Six trucks in three two-truck tandems ran three-wide on the final lap for the win, with ThorSport teammates Sauter and Matt Crafton together, Chastain and Kligerman hooked up and Kyle Busch and Armstrong running together.

“Everybody’s getting more brave,” Sauter said of drivers’ willingness to race in the two-truck tandems.

But a well-intended push Miguel Paludo for his Turner Scott Motorsports teammate Jeb Burton turned Burton sideways and led to a big wreck that also collected Busch, Crafton and Darrell Wallace Jr., among others. Paludo, himself, wound up upside down and on fire.

“I don’t know what happened,” Busch said. “Someone came up underneath me, hit me and turned me left.”

While Ty Dillon and James Buescher worked together to run up front for much of the early laps of the race, the ThorSport duo of Crafton and Sauter bided their time in the back after qualifying poorly, hoping to miss the big wreck.

Sauter and Crafton began a march toward the front, though, following a caution that came out with 39 laps to go. They were in the top two positions for the first time with about 17 laps to go.

“We had very, very slow trucks by ourselves, but when we locked up — game on,” Crafton said.

Timmy Hill finished sixth, while John Wes Townley was seventh. Max Gresham was eighth. Despite getting caught up in the last-lap “big one” Crafton and Busch managed top-10 finishes, taking ninth and 10th.

With his top-10 finish, Crafton was able to build on his championship points lead. Buescher, who was second in points heading into the race, was credited with a 26th-place finish after getting caught up in an incident that also Joey Coulter, Ron Hornaday and Justin Lofton with 14 laps to go.

“We got in the middle of (turns) one and two and Hornaday kept squeezing down on me,” Buescher said. “We hit a lot of stuff.”

– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

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