William Byron wins seventh race as Johnny Sauter clinches first Truck Series title
While William Byron won his seventh Camping World Truck Series race, Johnny Sauter finished third in the Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to claim his first NASCAR title in 14 full-time seasons across all three series.
Byron led 31 laps, including the final 10, to close out his season with the rookie record for wins in the Truck series.
Sauter had to do the most work of the Championship 4 drivers, starting 19th and charging his way toward the front where he delivered GMS Racing its first NASCAR title. GMS Racing debuted in 2013 with Spencer Gallagher.
Sauter’s title comes in his eighth year of full-time competition in the series.
“We qualified terribly today and I was kind of worried about it,” Sauter told Fox Sports 1. “Just proud of these guys. Flawless execution on pit road. (Crew chief) Joe (Shear Jr.) made the right kind of adjustments to where I could just kind of hang on. I’m not really a high line guy. Just elected to keep doing my deal and actually found some real good grip around the bottom of the race track.”
That led to Sauter passing Matt Crafton, his former teammate at GMS Racing, after the final restart with 20 to go.
Filling out the top five was Tyler Reddick, Sauter, Kyle Larson and Daniel Hemric.
A week after Byron was eliminated from the Chase at Phoenix thanks to a blown engine, the 18-year-old driver helped give Kyle Busch Motorsports its fifth owners title and fourth in a row.
“Feels awesome, it’s incredible,” Byron told FS1. “This team has worked so hard all year. We just had that unfortunate situation last week that we couldn’t control. But man they brought a good truck ... I just hate this team not being together next year. It’s just insane how good they are.”
Byron, who was named Rookie of the Year, moves up to the Xfinity Series next year to drive for JR Motorsports.
Among the other Chasers, Matt Crafton finished seventh, followed by Christopher Bell in eighth and Timothy Peters in ninth.
Larson led a race-high 76 laps while Crafton led 10, the only laps led by a Chase driver.
HOW WILLIAM BYRON WON: After a three-wide pass of Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter for second with 17 to go, Byron took the lead from Tyler Reddick with 10 laps left and won.
WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Kyle Larson started third and led the most laps in the race before losing eight spots on the final pit stop. He fought back to finish fourth ... In their last starts for Brad Keselowski Racing, Tyler Reddick and Daniel Hemric each finished in the top five ... Cole Custer finished 10th in his last race before moving up to the Xfinity Series.
WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Patrick Staropoli caused cautions on Laps 43 and 84 and 111. He finished 31st, nine laps down … Ryan Truex was the only DNF of the night, finishing last after losing an engine.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “Before this race, we knew we had a lifelong bond between all of us. I mean, it’s just been an incredible season. I’ve learned so much. They didn’t know what to expect I think with a rookie driver. They were like, ‘What’s this kid going to do,’ so I just tried to prove them right all year and we just had an awesome year, so no better way to finish it off at Homestead like this.” - William Byron after winning the Ford EcoBoost 200.