Sauter Continues Madison Domination
OREGON, Wis. – For the ninth straight time he’s visited Madison Int’l Speedway, Travis Sauter picked up another checkered flag by winning the 100 lap Triple Crown Challenge Sunday.
John Wood won the feature for the Club La Mark Midwest Trucks while Aaron Moyer won again in the Pellitteri Waste Systems Legends.
Casey Johnson and Thor Anderson brought the field of 20 cars to the green flag with Johnson taking the top spot from the start. He led the first four laps before the caution flag was displayed on lap four when Gary Lamonte spun in turn four.
Johnson continued to lead after the restart despite heavy pressure from Blake Brown. Dale Nottestad took second away from Brown on lap 7 when he worked his way to the inside coming out of turn three. Nottestad wasted no time hunting down the leader and quickly closed the gap with Anderson, Travis Sauter, and Steve Rubeck completing the top five. On lap 12 Sauter powered his way to the inside of Anderson to take fourth and set his sights on Brown. Two laps later he found himself in third place some fifteen cars lengths behind the top two.
On lap 27 Sauter had caught Nottestad to take over second place just before the caution flag came out on lap 28 when Kelsey Bauer and Gary Lamonte spun in turn four.
Sauter lined up on the outside of Johnson on the restart and on lap 30 was able to take the top spot. The caution flag came out on lap 35 when Mikie Breiner spun coming out of turn two.
This restart found Johnson lining up on the outside of Sauter, but unable to get the grip to take back the lead. Behind the top two, Brown was in third followed by Rich Bickle Jr. and Nick Murgic, but once again the caution flag came out when Dale Nottestad’s car had issues coming out of turn four.
Sauter maintained his lead when the race went green again followed by Johnson, Bickle Jr., Murgic, and Brown. On lap 50 Rubeck overpowered Brown for the fifth position just before mechanical issues would end his day after fifty-three laps.
But out front Sauter had it in cruise control building up a fifteen car length lead over Johnson and the rest of the field. Only a caution flag could slow down the leader and it did on lap 55 when Breiner spun on the front stretch.
Bickle Jr. elected to start on the outside of Sauter with Johnson choosing the inside on the restart. Sauter continued to lead while Bickle Jr. and Johnson were door to door for second place with Murgic in fourth and Bobby Wilberg closing quickly in fifth. Johnson was able to maintain his second spot while Bickle Jr. and Murgic raced side by side for third.
The competition break came at lap 75 with Sauter leading followed by Johnson, Bickle Jr., Murgic, and Wilberg. Completing the top ten were Austin Luedtke, Anderson, Lamonte, Jeremy Spoonmore, and Jeff Way. Only twelve cars remained on the track at this time thanks to a variety of mechanical issues sending eight cars to the pits early.
Now it was time for the twenty-five lap shootout and another exciting restart. Both Johnson and Bickle Jr. elected to restart on the outside so Murgic moved up behind the leader. Sauter and Johnson raced side by side for three laps with Sauter regaining the lead before the yellow flag came out for a spin on the backstretch.