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• 2014 Season In Review Also Features Year In Photos, Video Highlights Package FORT WORTH, Texas (December 16, 2014) - The year at Texas Motor Speedway opened with pyrotechnics celebrating the unveiling of the world's largest, high-definition LED video board in March and culminated in November with additional fireworks courtesy of the post-race melee involving combatants Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 Eliminator 8 Chase race. There also was plenty of action and excitement in between as Texas Motor Speedway played host to its annual Duck Commander 500 NASCAR doubleheader in April, Firestone 600 INDYCAR/NASCAR twin bill in June and played host to its inaugural Red Bull Air Race World Championship event in September. The Texas Motor Speedway 2014 Season In Review recaps those major event weekends, in addition to the momentous "Big Hoss TV" unveiling, while the accompanying Texas Motor Speedway Year in Photos captures all those key moments in addition to other noteworthy speedway -related events throughout the year. The Texas Motor Speedway Year in Photos features 90 images - primarily from the speedway's official photo agency Getty Images - that were chosen for their significance and/or artistic value and are presented in chronological order. A three-minute video recap of the top on-track moments, including the AAA Texas 500 post-race skirmish, also is available in HD by clicking here. All photos and video are free for media outlets to utilize, especially for their year-end, wrap-ups and can be previewed by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com or downloaded by visiting www.image.net/tmsinreview2014 . Let's take a look back: "Big Hoss TV" Unveiling / Wednesday, March 19 The Skinny: The world's largest, high-definition LED video board is unveiled amid fanfare and will be one of the most impactful fan enhancements in the history of Texas Motor Speedway and the world of motorsports. The Recap: Texas Motor Speedway unveiled the world's largest, high-definition LED video board in grand fashion as the evening featured fireworks, motorsports stars, reality television celebrities, dignitaries and the showing of an episode from A&E's hit reality show "Duck Dynasty" for more than 8,000 fans situated in the infield of the world-class sports facility. The official debut of the Panasonic-built "Big Hoss TV" was part of a star-studded evening that included appearances by Duck Commander CEO and "Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson and his wife, Korie, along with the heralded racing duo of NASCAR's Kyle Busch and INDYCAR's Helio Castroneves. Also in attendance were dignitaries such as NASCAR President Mike Helton, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, Panasonic Eco Solutions North America Vice President Richard Ballard, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith, SMI President and COO Marcus Smith and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. Positioned in the middle of the backstretch and stretching 218 feet wide by 94.6 feet tall, "Big Hoss TV" features 20,633.64 square feet of HD LED imagery that contains 281 trillion colors. The video board, constructed in just four months, surpassed fellow Speedway Motorsports, Inc. facility Charlotte Motor Speedway (16,000 square feet) as the Guinness World Record holder for the world's largest HD LED video board. The size of "Big Hoss TV" is staggering as it is 79 percent larger than the video board at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, which is 11,520 square feet. "It is the ultimate fan amenity," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "To have the biggest one in the world, that's just one of those 'Everything is Bigger in Texas' stories that we are really proud to be a part of." NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 / Monday, April 7 The Skinny: Rain forces a Monday matinee for only the third time in speedway history and Joey Logano wins the Duck Commander 500 for an automatic berth in the reformatted Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . The Recap: With Duck Commander on board as the title sponsor and the "Duck Dynasty" stars on hand en masse, the weather was more conducive for duck hunting that NASCAR racing. The Duck Commander 500 , moved from its Saturday night slot to Sunday afternoon to avoid a conflict with the NCAA Final Four men's college basketball tourney being in Arlington, was washed out due to continual rain showers and rescheduled for a Monday matinee. It was just the third time in Texas Motor Speedway 's 18-year history that a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was run on Monday due to inclement weather, the most recent coming in 2010 when both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races were run on the same day. Penske Racing's Joey Logano punched his ticket for a berth in the restructured Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format after surviving a green/white-checkered finish to win the Duck Commander 500 . Logano was cruising to victory with a two-second lead over teammate Brad Keselowski with just over one lap remaining in the scheduled 334-lap event, but a caution for debris forced a two-lap overtime shootout. Logano restarted third after pitting for four tires while Jeff Gordon and Brian Vickers opted for two tires and restarted first and second, respectively. Gordon held off Logano on the first lap, but Logano got a strong run inside on the frontstretch and was able to overtake him in Turn 1 and pull away to a 0.476 of a second margin of victory in the race that was extended to 340 laps. The victory was Logano's first since August of 2013 at Michigan and the fourth of his career. It also was his first Sprint Cup win at Texas Motor Speedway , which was highlighted by him becoming the youngest Cup winner in TMS history at 23 years, 10 months and 14 days. NASCAR Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 / Friday, April 4 The Skinny: Rookie Chase Elliott , the 18-year-old son of NASCAR great Bill Elliott , lands his first career Nationwide Series victory in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 to become the second-youngest winner in series history. The Recap: Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 provided a historic milestone for a second-generation NASCAR driver and a glimpse into the talent that would flourish and lead to a series championship. Rookie Chase Elliott , the 18-year-old high school senior and son of NASCAR great Bill Elliott , needed just six starts in the Nationwide Series for his first career win that came in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 . Elliott made a bold move on the high side of Kevin Harvick in the elbow of the frontstretch to take the lead on Lap 185 and then held on for a 2.251-second victory over Kyle Busch in the 200-lap event. Elliott became the second-youngest winner in series history at 18 years, 4 months and 8 days. Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600 / Saturday, June 7 The Skinny: Will Power's late pit lane penalty opens the door for Ed Carpenter to capture the Firestone 600 and become the first American winner at TMS since Sam Hornish Jr . in 2007. The Recap: The annual INDYCAR/NASCAR summer doubleheader yielded two first-time Texas Motor Speedway winners as Matt Crafton won the Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350 and Ed Carpenter was victorious in the Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600. Carpenter took advantage of a strong second-half race performance and a critical late pit lane penalty by Will Power to record his first series victory since 2012 in the Firestone 600. The victory was the third of Carpenter's career and his first since winning the 2012 season finale at Fontana. In his previous 12 starts at Texas Motor Speedway , he had just one top-five finish and led one lap (2009) before breaking through to become the first American to win at Texas since Sam Hornish Jr . in 2007. Carpenter led 66 of the final 67 laps of the 248-lap event and avoided a potential shootout for the win with Power, who was running second when he was caught speeding in pit lane on his final green-flag pit stop. With 36 to go, Carpenter and Power pitted together and came out 1-2, but Power received a drive-thru penalty for speeding and fell a lap down. Carpenter suddenly had a nine-plus second cushion over second-place Tony Kanaan and was coasting to victory with an 18.5-second lead before a final caution came out with seven laps remaining. The race became a two-lap shootout and Carpenter was able to stave off Juan Pablo Montoya and the hard-charging Power, who moved from sixth to second and finished 0.52 of a second behind Carpenter. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 / Friday, June 6 The Skinny: Defending Camping World Truck Series champ Matt Crafton snaps a 26-race winless streak at TMS with a dominant victory in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 400. The Recap: Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton had it easy compared to Verizon IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter in earning his first career win at Texas Motor Speedway . He led a career-best 118 laps en route to the victory in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 that snapped a 26-race winless streak at the speedway . Crafton led 118 of the 167 laps - the most he led in a single race in his 14-year career - and cruised to a 13.302-second victory over runner-up Justin Lofton . It was the fifth win of Crafton's career and second of the season, marking the first time in his career that he had recorded multiple wins in a season. His dominant performance established a track record for largest margin of victory in that series, eclipsing the previous mark of 11.817 seconds set by Dennis Setzer in this event in 2004. Red Bull Air Race World Championship / Saturday, Sept. 6, & Sunday, Sept. 7 The Skinny: Texas Motor Speedway plays host to the first race in the United States since 2010 for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, which returned to competition after a three-year hiatus. The Recap: The Red Bull Air Race World Championship made its return to the United States for the first time since 2010 as Texas Motor Speedway played host to the sixth stage of the eight-event international plane racing series. Before a crowd of more than 20,000 for the first of two U.S. stops, Frenchman Nicolas Ivanoff captured his first victory of the season in the elite Master Class on the challenging, seven air gate, 3.7-mile course that was built in the infield of the motorsports venue. Ivanoff posted an individual two-lap run of 54.118 seconds to defeat Great Britain's Nigel Lamb, Canada's Pete McLeod and Germany's Matthias Dolderer in the Final 4 showdown on Sunday. Ivanoff gave his country a sweep of the weekend competition as fellow Frenchman Mikael Brageot won the Challenger Cup race the day prior. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 / Sunday, Nov. 2 The Skinny: A post-race confrontation between Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski and ensuing melee steals national headlines from six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson winning the AAA Texas 500 for a third year in a row. The Recap : With the remaining eight Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers looking to win the AAA Texas 500 and automatically advance to the championship round, six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson played the role of spoiler as he won the Eliminator 8 race in a dramatic second green/white-checkered overtime finish. Johnson, eliminated from championship contention in the previous round, won the AAA Texas 500 for a record third consecutive year, but it was the post-race scuffle that made national headlines the following day. While Johnson was celebrating his track-record fourth Cup win with burnouts on the frontstretch, chaos ensued on pit lane after an angry Jeff Gordon confronted Brad Keselowski and a fray quickly developed between the Chase contenders. Fellow Chase competitor Kevin Harvick pushed Keselowski while Gordon was jawing with him and the situation quickly escalated as the crews got involved and transformed into a melee. The disagreement stemmed from the first GWC finish, where Gordon took the restart with the lead and Johnson beside him on the front row. Johnson grabbed the lead when a bold move by Keselowski resulted in contact with Gordon, which ultimately led to a flat tire, contact with the wall and a 29th-place finish that would derail his title aspirations. The caution flew for Gordon that set up the second GWC finish, where Keselowski found himself lining up front against the leader Johnson on the restart. Johnson, on the inside, maintained the lead on the restart while Keselowski found himself also trying to fend off a charging Harvick. Harvick got past Keselowski on that lap but didn't have enough time to chase down Johnson, who won by 0.513 of a second for his fourth victory of the season and 70th of his career. Johnson led nine times for 191 laps, but a record 13 cautions continually bunched the field as well as changed race strategies to give a number of drivers a shot at the victory.Johnson, Harvick and Keselowski took the top three positions, respectively, while Kyle Busch , who was looking to sweep all three NASCAR races after truck and Nationwide wins earlier, finished fourth. NASCAR Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge / Saturday, Nov. 1 The Skinny: Kyle Busch gives Joe Gibbs Racing its 100th career Nationwide Series win and sets his sights on rare NASCAR tripleheader weekend sweep after winning the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge . The Recap: Kyle Busch added to the weekend drama and intrigue when he secured the second leg of a rare NASCAR tripleheader weekend sweep with a win in the Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge . Busch completed the Nationwide Series/ Camping World Truck Series sweep for the second time in his career at Texas Motor Speedway , with the first coming in the fall of 2009. That only left Sunday's AAA Texas 500 as the missing prize for the triple, which had only been accomplished by Busch ( Bristol 2010) in the history of NASCAR. Busch extended his record for career Nationwide Series victories at Texas Motor Speedway by adding his seventh with a 1.562-second win over Joey Logano . Busch, who led six times for a race-high 116 laps, and Logano, who led five times for 59 laps, exchanged the lead six times over the final 85 laps in the 200-lap event before Busch took control late. It also was his seventh NNS victory of the season, 70th in his career and a milestone 100th for Joe Gibbs Racing . NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 / Friday, Oct. 31 The Skinny: Kyle Busch wins the WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 as Kyle Busch Motorsports ties the Camping World Truck Series record for most victories in a season. The Recap: Kyle Busch , competing in all three NASCAR races during the weekend and chasing a rare sweep, endured a green/white-checkered overtime finish to secure the first leg with a victory in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 350. Busch, who led a race-high 80 of 152 laps, was cruising to victory when two late cautions put a scare into his bid to secure his seventh win in just nine NCWTS starts this season. Following the final caution that led to the two-lap shootout, Busch got a strong restart on the outside of leader German Quiroga and took command of the lead coming out of Turn 2. He was pulling away with one lap to go when Quiroga hit the wall in Turn 2 to force the conclusion of the final lap to finish under caution. Busch's series-leading seventh win was his third truck victory at Texas Motor Speedway that pushed his career total in the series to 42. It also was the 12th victory overall for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 20 starts this season, tying the series record for season victories set by Ultra Motorsports in 2001. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Take a virtual lap around Bristol Motor Speedway
After losing lead in closing laps of NNS race, JGR driver leaves Cup race early RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings BRISTOL , Tenn. -- Team owner Joe Gibbs said it was "frustration." Crew chief Dave Rogers said it was "a miscommunication." Driver Kyle Busch ? He wasn't talking, having departed after his car was damaged beyond repair, the result of which left the Joe Gibbs Racing owner with a 36th-place finish in Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway . It was the fourth consecutive finish of 36th or worse for Busch, who had finished second in three of four NASCAR Sprint Cup races before this latest slide. Sixth in points after this year's Indianapolis stop, Busch has now fallen 11 positions to 17th. Damage from an incident involving his No. 18 Toyota was too severe for repairs, leaving Busch to exit his car with less than 100 laps remaining in the race. Radio conversations between Busch and Rogers appeared to get heated before Busch's departure. "I still don't know what happened," Rogers said of the race-ending incident. "I think we got into the fence and I could hear the spotter say the tires were up, I heard Kyle say something about right-front suspension (but) I couldn't put it together. "I got frustrated with Kyle because I wasn't sure what he was saying; he got frustrated with me because I wasn't fixing the race car. It's Bristol , it's loud, and a lot of things are going on." Busch, who had qualified fourth in the 43-car field, drove into the lead early. But a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 63 dropped him from first to the tail end of the lead-lap cars. Collected in a five-car accident at Lap 125, Busch was unable to crack the top 10 for the remainder of the race. That incident began when Brian Vickers and Kyle Larson made contact in front of Busch. As he slowed to avoid contact, Clint Bowyer got into the back of Busch's car, damaging the left rear. "We were really fast tonight, had a top-four qualifying effort, then we drove up into the lead, thought we were going to have a shot to win it and then we got caught up in someone else's mess early on so everyone's frustrated," Rogers said. "It's been a long month. Emotions just overflowed like they always do at Bristol . It's really no big deal." Rogers said he thought the final incident cut a tire, but his driver said the suspension on the car was broken. "He said, 'No, you didn't fix the problem. The suspension is broke,' " Rogers said. "I said, 'Well, if the suspension is broke then drive it to the truck' … there's nothing you can do about it 50 laps to go in the race. "But he's right. The suspension's broke. That car was not salvageable. We couldn't get it back on the track no matter what we wanted to do. But it was just a miscommunication what we needed to work on." Gibbs said he spoke to both Busch and Rogers after the race. "That's just pro sports," Gibbs said. "Every now and then you get frustrated. "They had three weeks … they were second, second, second. I think the night was totally frustrating. *(Kyle) had a great car and it was a series of circumstances. Something like that happens in pro sports you can get frustrated." Rogers said the heated conversations wouldn't impact his working relationship with his driver. "If Kyle Busch wasn't passionate, I probably wouldn't work for him," he said. "And if I wasn't passionate, Kyle Busch probably wouldn't want me as his crew chief. You've got two passionate people that want to win more than anything. And sometimes that passion gets the best of you. Tonight's that night. Kyle and I are fine. He's still my buddy, I love him to death and I'm very confident he'd tell you the same about me. "We both got frustrated tonight, but it's such a small deal. It really doesn't even factor into the Chase. We have some really good cars sitting on jack stands getting ready to go. All the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing are busting their butts and they've been building better and better cars. Lately, we've had speed in our cars and we're racing our worst stuff. We're saving our good stuff for the Chase." NASCAR.com's Alan Cavanna contributed to this report. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Several drivers still looking for ticket to the Chase lost on late-lap gamble RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings BRISTOL , Tenn. -- Two ends of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series spectrum were on the same strategy late in Saturday's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway . On one side, there was two-win Carl Edwards staying out following a Lap 432 caution flag that sent nearly all of the leaders down pit road. The other faction consisted of winless drivers Matt Kenseth , Kyle Larson and Paul Menard , who all came to the same conclusion -- that the opportunity to restart up front and have a real shot at a win was more valuable than getting fresh tires or making adjustments. So it was those four, with Kenseth in the lead on the outside lane, that led the field to green on Lap 434 and set the stage for a dramatic conclusion on a dramatic night in which Joey Logano eventually caught Kenseth as the others slipped back. "It was a discussion," Kenseth said of the dialogue with crew chief Jason Ratcliff about the late call. "We were still talking about it all the way to the cone. Jason told me to pit, and I decided at the last second to stay out. We were looking over some stats this morning and talking and I wasn't sure with the way (Ratcliff) said it ... I just felt like he was wanting a little input from me, so I just stayed out." Kenseth had the backing of his crew chief as well. He radioed that he didn't think the No. 20 team stood a chance to pick up its first win of the season by staying out. "I'm all in, brother," Ratcliff replied. Kenseth's third-place finish matched his best showing of the year on a night where all three Joe Gibbs Racing cars looked strong, but only the No. 20 was running at the end. As for the other winless drivers, Menard and Larson needed a victory for more tangible reasons. They both entered Bristol outside of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field and were -- and remain -- in win-or-else mode. Coming off a 43rd-place finish at Michigan last week, Larson started at the back after wrecking in qualifying and had to drive through the field. He scraped the wall a couple of times, avoided a separate wreck and was running in the top five with a chance at the checkered flag with 50 laps to go. "That is the hardest that I've ever raced," Larson said after the 500-lap event. "I made our whole team have to work really hard with wrecking in qualifying. I had a few run-ins today and ... I guess I'm happy with 12th. That is probably about as good as we were." Between Larson and Menard, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender is in the best position to seriously challenge for a postseason spot. He's 26 points behind Greg Biffle , currently the 16th seed in the Chase Grid, with two regular-season races remaining. It's a tall order to make up, but Larson's strategy for the final two races basically takes points out of the equation -- it's win or nothing. That's exactly why he stayed out late at Bristol , and it's a mindset that will manifest itself next week at Atlanta as well. "I think 26 behind Biffle is a long way to go for two races. Hope for some bad luck for him," Larson said. "But we need to go out there and get a win, like we tried to do tonight." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Two of his five career Sprint Cup wins at Thunder Valley came in 2009 Kyle Busch is the last driver to have completed a sweep of the Sprint Cup Series events at Bristol Motor Speedway . He did so in 2009, leading 446 of a possible 1,003 laps en route to the sweep. Busch is not the only driver to sweep both Sprint Cup events at Thunder Valley. Others that have done so: Fred Lorenzen (1964), David Pearson (1968), Bobby Allison (1972), Cale Yarborough (1974, 1976, 1977), Richard Petty (1975), Darrell Waltrip (1981, 1982, 1983), Dale Earnhardt (1985, 1987), Rusty Wallace (2000) and Kurt Busch (2003).
See where your favorite driver will pit in the Food City 300 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) MORE: Food City 300 lineup RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live Kyle Busch won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Food City 300 and got his choice of pit stalls for the race at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Busch will occupy the pit stall closest to the Turn 1 exit on pit road and will have an opening in front of him. "Rowdy" is not the only driver to have an opening in front of him. Chase Elliott (starting fourth), Erik Jones (starting sixth) and Regan Smith (starting eighth) all have pit stalls with open space in front. Cale Conley has the pit stall closest to the pit road entrance. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Check out the lineup for all the action in NASCAR this weekend as the top three series head to Bristol Motor Speedway for racing under the lights.
Crew chief change off to promising start for No. 98 team The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule is in the midst of its now-annual tight turnaround in August, with just four days separating last Saturday afternoon's event at Michigan from Wednesday night's tilt at Bristol Motor Speedway . It's a quick turn that newly minted points leader Johnny Sauter -- and the series' most recent winner -- doesn't mind making. Sauter and the rest of the truck series regulars will make their traditional midweek stop at the Thunder Valley bullring for Wednesday's UNOH 200 (8:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). With 10 races left in the season, Bristol kicks off what Sauter hopes is a favorable stretch in his bid for a breakthrough truck title as the schedule turns toward fall. "I can't think of a better place to go than Bristol and to be only three, four days away from that is pretty awesome," Sauter said Saturday after notching his first win of the season at Michigan International Speedway . "When I look down the rest of the schedule, I see Vegas, Talladega, Martinsville, Texas, Homestead -- all places that I've won at in the past. ... Having said all that, Bristol's the next one on the list." "I keep telling everyone around me, they're like, 'Championship, championship,' and I said, 'Well, I'm doing it one week at a time.' If you run well and stay out of trouble, you're going to ultimately, hopefully have a shot at the championship. So right now, next thing on my list is Bristol ." Though Sauter's season had been marked by steady performance with just two finishes outside the top 10 in the first 12 races, his ThorSport Racing team recently made a change at crew chief, bringing in Jeff Hensley and moving former crew chief Dennis Connor to teammate Jeb Burton' s crew starting at Michigan. There was no semblance of a major slump -- Sauter finished second in his last race with Connor at Pocono -- but the team still sought an extra edge. The change produced immediate results in just Hensley's eighth day on the job. "It was just a deal where we were really running decent this year, we were consistent but we were just maybe lacking a little bit here and there," said Sauter, who extended his streak of seasons with at least one victory to six. "We hadn't won; I think this is the latest in the season in the last four or five years that I hadn't won a race, so it was tough. Ultimately Dennis Connor did a great job; I have all the respect in the world for Dennis. We talked already about it, and it was just a thing we thought was going to make the whole organization stronger." Hensley, now 1-for-1 atop the pit box for Sauter's No. 98 Toyota, agreed. "I know. I've been where Johnny's at," said Hensley, who was crew chief for Chuck Bown's 1990 championship in what is now the NASCAR Nationwide Series . "Sometimes you've got to do things that maybe shake things up a bit, and good things happen like happened today. I just feel like I'm the most fortunate person in the world right now to be a part of this." Short tracks have long been a sweet spot for the 36-year-old Sauter, but a Bristol victory has eluded him thus far in his his truck career. He finished second at the .533-mile track in 2011 and landed a fourth-place run there last season. Carrying a nine-point lead over ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton and the momentum from his Michigan win bode well for Sauter's chances, but so does a fresh outlook and a fast mount. "I think Jeff's already got that truck pretty well ready to go," Sauter said of his Bristol ride. "It's pretty cool to win our first race out of the gate together, and maybe we can make it two in a row." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule