Johnny Sauter grabbed the lead from polesitter Jeb Burton with 17 laps left in Saturday's Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway and pulled away to keep his 2013 perfect record intact.

Sauter won the season-opener at Daytona, and after a break of 43 days, won the second race of the season at the .526-mile short track. Sauter won for the eighth time in the Truck series and posted his first back-to-back victories. It was only the second time in series history that a driver has opened the season with back-to-back wins; the first was 2006 by Mark Martin.

Johnny Sauter won his second straight race Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. (NASCAR Media).
Sauter's ThorSport Racing teammate, Matt Crafton, passed Burton for second with four laps left. Burton held third, but his top-five finish was clouded by an accident on Lap 103, when he turned Ron Hornaday Jr. into the Turn 3 wall while battling for the lead.

Timothy Peters and Darrell Wallace Jr. completed the top five.

Divergent pit strategies put Kevin Harvick in the lead for a restart on Lap 151 of a scheduled 250, but Harvick, who had stayed out on old tires, gave up the top spot to Nelson Piquet Jr. one lap later and began a freefall back through the field.

Three circuits after a Lap-162 restart following the eighth caution, Wallace snagged the lead from Piquet and opened an advantage of more than three seconds, but both Wallace and Piquet opted to come to pit road for fresh tires on Lap 198, under the ninth caution for Max Gresham's spin in Turn 2.

That gave the lead back to Burton, who brought the field to green on Lap 203, with Wallace, Piquet and Harvick deep in the field on new tires. John Wes Townley's hard crash in Turn 4 caused the 10th caution on Lap 206 and bunched the field for a restart on Lap 218.

Wallace restarted seventh on fresh tires and had worked his way up to third by the time Harvick tapped and spun Todd Bodine in Turn 3 on Lap 229 to bring out the 11th caution. By then, Sauter, who last came to pit road with Burton on Lap 146, had fought his way into second place and was challenging Burton for the lead when the yellow flag flew.

Leave a Reply.