Written by Adrian Beecher
Bristol, TN – As soon as Johnny Sauter fired up his engine and took the first lap after the drop of the green flag, the regular season title was his.
Sauter has shined all season long, with four wins, 11 top five finishes and 12 top tens in his first 15 races this season in the CampingWorld Truck Series. He added to these totals Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway with a 1st place finish to snag his career-high fifth win of the season.
“Last week at Michigan was the ultimate kick in the pants for me, and I’ve been beating myself up pretty hard all week,” said Sauter, “I was like, we’re going to go to Bristol and we’re going to win this thing. I don’t think anybody ever got complacent, I think we got off our game a little bit at Kentucky and Eldora’s always tough for me.”
Despite the slight strugles of weeks past, complacency isn’t something that is likely to hinder the 2016 champion of the series as he continues to keep his eyes on the prize. Winning the regular season title gives Sauter a bonus 15 points which he will take with him into the postseason as the leader in points with a total of 42 playoff points.
The other seven drivers joining Sauter in the playoffs include Noah Gragson, Ben Rhodes, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen, Justin Haley, Matt Crafton and Brett Moffit, who is 2nd in playoff points behind Sauter with 27.
Getting the short end of the stick was Rookie Myatt Snider, as he just missed making the postseason by 115 points. Snider would have needed to win to get into the playoffs on Thursday.
For Sauter however, the drive continues, not only is he going for his 2nd championship but now he looks to add onto his win total after notching his first-ever five-win season.
A championship for Sauter would put him in a unique class of just four other drivers to win more than one Truck Series Title. Matt Crafton and Todd Bodine are tied for third-most all-time with two, then its Jack Sprague in 2nd with three and the legend Ron Hornaday Jr. with four wins for most all time.
The playoffs start next week across the border in Burketon, Ontario, Canada at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the Chevrolet Silverado 250. The drop of the green flag is scheduled for 2:30pm ET on Sunday, August 26th.