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Tuesday February 9th, 2016 12:52AM

Sauter delivers NCWTS Michigan win for new Crew Chief

By Scott Held - NASCAR Wire Service
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BROOKLYN, MI - Johnny Sauter's new crew chief started work eight days before Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200.<br /> <br /> So much for a getting-to-know-you period.<br /> <br /> Sauter's Toyota Tundra went to the front after leader Matt Crafton pitted with three laps left and the veteran claimed his first Truck Series victory of the season at Michigan International Speedway.<br /> <br /> His 161.087 mph average speed is the fastest in series history, breaking the 154.737 record he set in 2012 when he won at Texas.<br /> <br /> "When I was out front leading, I could go where I wanted and do what I wanted," Sauter said. "The last 40 laps of the race I was running wide open."<br /> <br /> Crafton, Sauter's ThorSport Racing teammate, finished second after pulling in for a quick splash of fuel. He had a 31-second lead when he entered the pits and was passed as he emerged from the lane after stopping for less than three seconds.<br /> <br /> The win vaulted Sauter into the first place in the season standings, seven points ahead of Crafton, who moved from third to second. Pole winner Ryan Blaney started the race with the points lead but lost it after finishing 21st.<br /> <br /> "This is great, this is the thing we needed to swing it," Sauter said after leading 21 laps in his 10th career series win. "We've been consistent. We finally got speed this weekend."<br /> <br /> The win ran Sauter's streak of seasons with at least one truck victory to six.<br /> Ron Hornaday, Jr.'s Chevy was third, followed by Tayler Malsam and Kyle Busch. Busch, who'll start 24th in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Pure Michigan 400, was seeking his sixth victory in as many starts this season in the Truck Series.<br /> <br /> ThorSport brought in Jeff Hensley to replace Dennis Connor as crew chief despite the fact Sauter was second in the points standings. Sauter said there were no hard feelings.<br /> <br /> "It was just something we thought would make the whole organization stronger," he said.<br /> <br /> Hensley, of course, enjoyed his first race in the pit box.<br /> <br /> "I thought we could win, but I sure as heck didn't think it would be the first time out," he said.<br /> <br /> Crafton was happy the team, based in nearby Sandusky, Ohio, had the top two spots
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