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Sauter wins battle, Dillon war in Truck finale

At Homestead
Saturday, November 19, 2011


Johnny Sauter celebrates
Getty Images for NASCAR
Austin Dillon withstood a strong challenge from race winner Johnny Sauter to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in Friday night’s Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

NASCAR called the event with 15 laps left with Sauter in the lead and Dillon in 10th place, giving Dillon, 21, the youngest champion in series history, a six-point edge over Sauter in the final series standings.

Dillon is the first driver in series history to win the rookie of the year title in his first full season and the series championship the following year.

"I remember my first championship with Dale Earnhardt," said team owner Richard Childress, Dillon’s grandfather. "I had the same feeling tonight watching my grandson."

"You can’t go out of the truck series any better than this," said Dillon, who will graduate to the Nationwide Series with RCR next year.

Denny Hamlin finished second in the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports truck, followed by Kevin Harvick, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Joey Coulter, who won the 2011 rookie of the year title. Coulter is a teammate of Dillon’s at Richard Childress Racing.

Early in the race, patience was a virtue for Dillon, who steered clear of potential complications and found a comfortable place to run at or near the back of the top 10.

As the race progressed, so did Dillon, who had worked his way into the second position behind Sauter before Ross Chastain’s spin on Lap 96 caused the fourth caution of the evening. The subsequent restart, however, brought more stress than Dillon ever could have expected.

Dillon fell back to 15th, fearing that he might have a problem with the right front fender on the No. 3 Chevrolet. Shortly thereafter, Sauter clinched most laps led, putting Dillon in danger of losing the championship if he lost more positions by the end of the race.

But Dillon drove back to the 10th position before rain halted the race on Lap 119 of 134 with Sauter in the lead.

"The fender got bent in—I don’t know how it happened," Dillon said. "I didn’t hit anybody on the track, but I think it happened on pit road. We got real tight once I got back there (in traffic). I think it was more on the conservative side when I was three-wide. We were three-wide in the middle, and to force a spot right there was not worth it."

Sauter, who won his second race of the season and the fourth of his career, wasn’t aware of how far behind Dillon had fallen on the restart.

"I had no clue," said Sauter, who won more than one event in a season in a top NASCAR touring series for the first time in his career. "Not one time tonight did they tell me where the 3 truck was. It didn’t really matter where he was running. We knew what we had to do, and that was lead the most laps and win the race.

"It’s a huge accomplishment, coming out here and doing what we needed to do. Six points is a bummer. You can think back on the season—dominating Kentucky, broke an axle, 20 to go, leading the race; ORP (Indianapolis), leading the race, flat tire; the lane violation at Texas, 22 points; six points at Pocono. You can go down the list—but everybody can. That’s just racing."

Notes: Greg Biffle and Travis Kvapil won rookie of the year honors and truck series championships, but not in consecutive years. Biffle accomplished the feat in 1998 (rookie) and 2000. Kvapil was rookie of the year in 2001 and champion in 2003. … Harvick had clinched the owners’ championship with his No. 2 truck before the series arrived at Homestead.



1 5 13 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet SafeAuto Ins. Co. / Curb Records 48/5 119 Running
2 17 18 Denny Hamlin Toyota Dollar General / DirecTV 0 119 Running
3 8 2 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Hunt Brothers Pizza 0 119 Running
4 3 8 Nelson Piquet Jr. * Chevrolet Piquet Realty 40/0 119 Running
5 10 22 Joey Coulter * Chevrolet RCR Graphics Center 39/0 119 Running
6 2 121 Ty Dillon Chevrolet Charter 38/0 119 Running
7 7 124 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet / Pellet 0 119 Running
8 21 17 Tim Peters Toyota Tire Kingdom / Service Central 36/0 119 Running
9 12 23 Jason White Chevrolet 35/0 119 Running
10 4 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 34/0 119 Running
11 23 81 David Starr Toyota Zachry/NCCER "Build Your Future" 33/0 119 Running
12 1 31 Jim Buescher Chevrolet Exide Batteries 33/1 119 Running
13 22 33 Ron Hornaday Chevrolet OneMain Financial 32/1 119 Running
14 13 29 Parker Kligerman* Dodge Cooper Standard 30/0 119 Running
15 16 15 Dusty Davis * Toyota Red Top Auto Auction 29/0 119 Running
16 15 5 Todd Bodine Toyota International Trucks / Monaco RV 28/0 119 Running
17 14 4 Ricky Carmichael Chevrolet Monster Energy 27/0 119 Running
18 9 6 Justin Lofton Chevrolet 26/0 119 Running
19 11 88 Matt Crafton Chevrolet Tarkett / Menards 26/1 119 Running
20 19 62 Brendan Gaughan Toyota Tire Kingdom / Service Central 25/1 119 Running
21 24 9 Max Papis Toyota GEICO 23/0 119 Running
22 6 60 Cole Whitt * Chevrolet Fuel Doctor / Red Bull 22/0 119 Running
23 28 32 Blake Feese Chevrolet Red Hot Insurance Quotes 21/0 118 Running
24 30 39 Ryan Sieg Chevrolet RSS Racing 20/0 118 Running
25 20 98 Dakoda Armstrong Chevrolet Ferrellgas / EverFi / Drive For Savings 20/1 118 Running
26 27 151 German Quiroga Toyota Telcel 18/0 118 Running
27 36 20 Ross Chastain Toyota National Watermelon Promotion Board / Melon 1 17/0 117 Running
28 25 109 Bryan Silas Ford Rockingham Speedway 0 117 Running
29 34 57 Norm Benning Chevrolet G.L. Hubbard & Sons Trucking 15/0 114 Running
30 35 168 Clay Greenfield Dodge Anave Weight Loss 14/0 104 Handling
31 26 66 Max Gresham Chevrolet / Gresham Motorsports Park 13/0 99 Fuel Pump
32 18 7 Miguel Paludo * Toyota Duroline Brakes and Components 12/0 30 Engine
33 32 174 Mike Harmon Chevrolet Koma Unwind 0 14 Overheating
34 29 138 Dennis Setzer Chevrolet RSS Racing 0 4 Ignition
35 31 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Ford / 0 3 Engine
36 33 07 Johnny Chapman Toyota / ASI Limited 0 1 Clutch

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