BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) — Johnny Sauter's unusually positive outlook turned out to be spot on.
"I told my wife when I went to bed last night, I said, 'Man, I think I'm going to win tomorrow,'" he said. "For me to say something like that means something. I'm usually a pretty pessimistic person."
Sauter won his first NASCAR Truck Series race of the season Saturday, holding off ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton at Michigan International Speedway. Sauter also took over the points lead. Ryan Blaney finished 21st after winning the pole and dropped from first place to third, behind Sauter and Crafton.
Crafton gave up the lead with a late pit stop, but was still within striking distance when Sauter held him off in the final stretch.
"The team said after the race, 'Sorry, we should have tried to make it,'" Crafton said. "But we were just on the order of making it or not making it and it was a tough call."
Even with that stop, Crafton made it close at the end, with Sauter leading the final four laps and winning by only 0.433 seconds.
"As I was creeping toward the restart line, I saw him kind of light the tires up like he was leaving pit road," Sauter said. "I knew once we go toward Turn 1 and he was still on the apron, I thought that I was going to have enough momentum to clear him, but by the time we got to Turn 2 I wasn't so sure."
It was the fastest race in series history, with an average speed of 161.110 mph. The previous record was 154.737 at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 2, 2012.