MIAMI – Johnny Sauter started and finished the season on a high note, as he claimed victory at Daytona International Speedway in the first race of the season and then capped it off by winning his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the final race of the season. Sauter’s championship came in the inaugural year of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase.
The 38-year-old from Necadah, Wisconsin took home the title by finishing 3rd in the Ford EcoBoost 200, ahead of the remaining Championship 4 contenders Matt Crafton (7th), Christopher Bell (8th) and Timothy Peters (9th). Crafton, who was vying for the third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship of his career, led for 10 of the race’s 134 laps, the only one of the Championship 4 to lead laps Friday night.
The title makes Sauter, who drives the No. 21 Chevrolet for GMS Racing, the 15th different driver to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. It also gives him three total victories, 12 top-5 and 19 top-10 showings in the 2016 campaign.
“This championship means a lot to me, but it means a lot to my family,” said Sauter. “I just can’t thank these guys enough. They executed like they needed to and I can’t thank the Gallagher family enough for giving me this opportunity. It was a leap of faith to come here over the off season.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie William Byron, driver of the No. 9 Toyota, took the checkered flag in the Ford EcoBoost 200. It was the seventh win of the season for Byron, who was also the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
“It’s amazing,” said Byron “This team’s worked so hard all year. Every single person is so talented. Sometimes I look around the garage and our pit stall and I just think about all the good people on our race team led by Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and just an awesome truck that we brought to Homestead. We would have loved to be in the driver’s championship, but it feels awesome to get a seventh win for this team. It’s just amazing.”
Kyle Busch Motorsports, owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, clinched the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owners title with Byron’s win. For Kyle Busch Motorsport’s, it is the team’s fourth consecutive (2013-16) and fifth all-time owners championship (2010, 2013-16). The team is now the first to win four consecutive titles and the first to win five total series championships.