When you think Martinsville Speedway, you think Johnny Sauter. It’s a track the defending series champion circles twice on the schedule every season.
The Wisconsin veteran was prepared and poised to defend his 2016 victory, but part-time teammate Chase Elliott had a different idea.
With 12 laps remaining after a caution in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250, race leader Elliott chose the outside lane as part of the teammate strategy the GMS Racing drivers employed all day. Elliott cleared Sauter on the backstretch, and turned to his mirror for help.
Sauter tried to argue his point with swift nudge to Elliott’s bumper heading unto Turn 3, but the 21-year-old was able to withstand the contact and go on to the checkers.
While Sauter, who finished runner-up, accepted the maneuver, he didn’t exactly concede to it.
“Chase did what he needed to do there with the block,” Sauter told Fox Sports. “When the shoe is on the other foot, I’ll do what I need to do.”
Chase Elliott becomes the first in his family to win the coveted Martinsville clock. His 16-time Most Popular dad, Bill, had a three career best third-place finishes in 45 tries.
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