Gragson Crashes While Trying To Win, Sauter Prevails In Friday’s JEGS 200 at Dover

Luckily, Gragson will be racing in Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at the Dover International Speedway. He needs to quickly get back in a race car with how Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race ended for him.

Johnny Sauter cruised to his second straight victory at the Monster Mile on Friday when he held off Matt Crafton in overtime to win his 19th career Truck Series race and second of the 2018 season. It was his fourth top three finish in the first five races of the year for his No. 21 Chevrolet. It was also a great way for the GMS Racing team to get back to good spirits too. Spencer Gallagher won for the team in last Saturday’s XFINITY Series race but saw that guaranteed playoff spot taken away this week when it was announced that Gallagher failed a drug test. That’s a big loss of revenue for a smaller team in the series. 

Johnny Sauter during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series JEGS 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 4, 2018 in Dover, Delaware.

Gallagher’s dad is the team owner for the organization in both XFINITY Series and Truck Series competition. So, when Sauter took his GMS Racing Truck to victory on the high banked concrete track, it was a thrill for the whole team.

But, from the thrill of victory to agony of defeat right?

Gragson, started on the pole and led the first 49 laps on Friday. He’d take over the lead on a late race restart on Lap 187, then battle Sauter for the top spot for the next 11 laps. Unfortunately, he crashed out while going for the win while he and Sauter were coming to the white flag and would finish 20th as a result.

Gragson, led 60 laps as a whole and leaves the track on Friday devastated.

“I’m really disappointed in myself,” he said. “It’s just a racing deal. These things are so hard to win, and I was so close to getting my first win (of the season). I went up to side-draft him and got pointed to the inside wall and went up to side-draft him again—and it was just a racing deal.

“Not the way I try to race people. I take full responsibility in that right there. It was a hundred percent my fault. It’s just unacceptable on my part. Man, I was so close to winning. All I can think about is just the mistake I made. I really wanted to get that monster (trophy). This is such a bad-ass track, and not to be able to get it done … I’m just devastated.”

In overtime, no one had anything for Sauter as he’d lead a race-high 137 out of the 210 laps. Sauter, just turned 40 earlier this week, so score it a win for the old guys he says.

Fellow 40+ year old driver Matt Crafton would bring his No. 88 Ford home runner-up as he crossed the finish line 0.533-seconds behind Sauter. It was just Crafton’s second top 10 finish of the season as he said he had nothing for Sauter in overtime.

“We just did not have short-run speed,” said the 41-year-old Crafton. “For whatever reason, it would just not fire off. I had a really good restart there at the end, and I moved him up as far as I could. I was waiting for Stevie (Reeves), the spotter to tell me, ‘Clear, clear.’ I knew I was close, real close.

“Johnny turned 40 this week, so he’s part of the old man crew, and we got a lot of flak this week by being the 40-year-olds, but the 40-year-olds showed the kids how to do it, I guess.”

Justin Haley finished third in his No. 24 Chevrolet for his second top five and third top 10 finish in five starts this season.

David Gilliland and Harrison Burton rounded out the top five in the rare Friday evening race. The series heads west to the Kansas Speedway for another Friday race next week. This time though, it will be under the lights.

JEGS 200 Results

  1. 21 Sauter
  2. 88 Crafton
  3. 24 Haley
  4. 54 D Gilliland
  5. 51 Burton
  6.  2 Coughlin
  7.  8 Nemechek
  8. 41 Rhodes
  9. 97 Little
  10.  4 T Gilliland R
  11. 13 Snider R -1
  12. 16 Moffitt -1
  13. 25 Sargeant R -1
  14. 98 Enfinger -2
  15. 22 Self -2
  16. 20 Thorson -3
  17. 49 Chavous -4
  18.  3 Anderson -4
  19. 45 Fontaine R -6
  20. 18 Gragson OUT
  21.  7 Forrister OUT
  22. 10 Cobb OUT
  23. 52 Friesen OUT
  24. 74 Harmon OUT
  25. 33 Reaume OUT
  26. 83 Currey OUT
  27.  6 Benning OUT
  28. 75 Kligerman OUT
  29. 63 Murphy OUT
  30. 15 Sorenson OUT
  31. 02 Hill OUT
  32. 50 Peck OUT

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