Saturday, November 19, 2016

Johnny Sauter Wins First Truck Series Championship, While William Byron Claims Ford EcoBoost 200 Title

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Momentum was the name of the game as Johnny Sauter took home the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday, Nov. 18.

This was the first Truck Series championship for Sauter, driver of the No. 21 car for GMS Racing, who came into the championship after winning two of three races in the Chase’s Round of 6. Sauter has come full circle, with a win in the season-opener in Daytona in February and now winning the Truck Series championship tonight.

“Yeah, I’ve wanted a driver’s championship for 15 years,” said Sauter. “Everybody wants to be a champion. You want to win races ultimately, and you want to be in the hunt.”

Sauter beat out Matt Crafton, Christopher Bell and Timothy Peters, who finished seventh, eighth and ninth respectively, to win the championship.

Not one to be outshone, 18-year-old William Byron took home the Ford EcoBoost 200 after a tight race, powering through after being eliminated from the Chase at Phoenix last week due to a blown engine. This victory marks the young No. 9 driver’s seventh win of the season, and was his final race as a member of Kyle Busch Motorsports.

“It feels awesome. It’s just – it’s incredible,” said Byron. “I mean this team has worked so hard all year. We just had an unfortunate situation last week that we couldn’t control, but, man, they brought a good truck. These guys just are awesome.”

On top of winning the Ford EcoBoost 200, Bryon was also awarded the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award.

Bryon’s win and Bell’s eighth place finish made the pair of rookies instrumental in Kyle Busch Motorsports taking home its record fifth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Championship in seven years. It is also the only team in history to win four consecutive championships. KBM took home its first Driver’s championship last year with Erik Jones’ 2015 championship win. 

“It’s frustrating but yet rewarding on the same end that William and the guys, they didn’t give up, they came out here and executed exactly was to win an owner’s championship for myself and Samantha,” Busch said.

The Ford EcoBoost 200 Camping World Truck Series was the kickoff of Ford Championship Weekend, which continues Saturday at 3:30 p.m. with the Ford EcoBoost 300 Xfinity Series race and culminates Sunday after the Ford EcoBoost 400 Sprint Cup Series race at 2:30 p.m.