Column By: HOLLY CAIN / NASCAR – FORT WORTH, TX – Kyle Busch may be looking to score his fourth-straight NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series win of the season in Friday’s Vankor 350 at Texas Motor Speedway (at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) but history indicates he will have a substantial challenge in two-time series champ Johnny Sauter.
Sauter has won three of the last five Gander Truck races at the Texas high-banks and is defending winner of Friday night’s race. His five career victories are most among active drivers at the track and only Todd Bodine has ever scored more (six). Twice Sauter has won back-to-back races (swept 2012, 2017-18).
The driver of the No. 13 ThorSport Ford F-150, Sauter has scored top-10s in the previous three races of the 2019 season, including a runner-up finish at Atlanta. He sits fourth in the championship standings – nine points behind leader Stewart Friesen, who took the points lead for the first time in his three-year career following last week’s Martinsville race.
The Canadian Stewart Friesen holds a slim four-point edge over previous championship leader Grant Enfinger and is five points up on defending series champ Brett Moffitt. Only 11 points separate the top-six drivers in the standings.
Sauter and Matt Crafton (2014) are the only two drivers ranked among the top-10 in the championship with previous wins at Texas.
Harrison Burton is ranked fifth (nine points behind Friesen) and continues to lead the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. The 18-year old has three finishes of 11th or better in the opening four races. The Texas track has been important and historic in his family. It’s where his father Jeff Burton scored his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory in April, 1997.