RIDGEWAY, Va. — After an opening stage that ran more than 50 laps without incident, Johnny Sauter survived a chaotic second stage of Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway, collecting 10 bonus points and a playoff point for his efforts.
Sauter took the lead from Christopher Bell, who only took two tires at the end of stage one, with an outside pass on a restart at lap 82 and led the rest of the way for his third stage victory of the season.
The stage ended under caution after polesitter Chase Elliott turned Ross Chastain around in turn four, fighting just outside the top 10. Elliott had been mired in traffic after a mid-race pit stop.
“It’s tough to say how much of a difference tires have made today,” Sauter said of the second run. “The first run was obviously a long run and you had qualifying laps on the tires.The last adjustment the team made on this Allegiant Travel Chevy was really, really good, though.”
“I’m not really sure where we stack up with the traffic. Pit road wasn’t even open when we drove by it the first time so I guess there was a little bit of confusion there. We’re just going to have to drive our tails off here and hopefully bring it home.”
Two-time Truck champion Matt Crafton came home as the stage two runner-up, ahead of Chase Briscoe, who barely hung on to finish third after a tire rub sustained due to contact with fourth-place Timothy Peters.
Grant Enfinger completed the top five, ahead of Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, Kaz Grala, Christopher Bell and Austin Hill.
The second stage saw more chaos than the opening run, with four incidents slowing the pace before the green checkered flag flew again.
Spins by Brandon Brown on lap 91 and Noah Gragson on lap 100 were joined by a yellow on lap 117, when John Hunter Nemechek lost power and stalled in turn two, before Chastain’s spin ended the stage under yellow.
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Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
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