MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Johnny Sauter passed Jeb Burton for the lead on a restart with 17 laps to go and won Saturday's NASCAR trucks race at Martinsville Speedway.
It was his second victory in as many races in the series this season.
Sauter passed Burton, the pole-sitting rookie making his seventh start in the series, on the outside following a restart on Lap 234 of the Kroger 250.
Likely challengers included rookie Darrell Wallace, who was seventh on the restart, and Kevin Harvick, who was 12th. Both had tires 50 laps fresher than the leaders, but they dueled along with Matt Crafton and Timothy Peters as Sauter drove away to win by 1.888 seconds.
Crafton rallied to finish second while third went to Burton, the son of former NASCAR driver Ward Burton and nephew of Jeff Burton.
"I had to time it just right. That's the key," Sauter said of his pass for the lead.
The move was part of a calculated tire strategy. Sauter and crew chief Joe Shear noticed that the 0.526-mile oval was not developing the rubber buildup as it came off tires, keeping it harsher than normal.
Sauter said he spent the first half of the race driving at about 80 percent.
"At about 40 or 50 (laps) to go, I put the hammer down and just started picking them off," he said.
IndyCar: Defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay bested rival Will Power for the pole in today's Grand Prix of Alabama in Birmingham with a lap of 123.422 mph on the 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park road course.
Grand-Am: Max Angelelli took the lead with 45 minutes left and held off Alex Gurney by 4.116 seconds to win the Porsche 250 in Birmingham.
NHRA: Antron Brown led Top Fuel qualifying with a run of 3.780 seconds at 320.43 mph at the Summitracing.com Nationals in Las Vegas. Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) also led their classes heading into today's eliminations.