Bristol, VA (August 20, 2015)-Dalton Sargeant in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) debut posted an impressive 10th place finish in the No. 5 GALT Wauters Motorsports Toyota Tundra at Bristol Motor Speedway in the rain delayed UNOH 200 Presented by ZLOOP Wednesday night.
The 17-year-old NASCAR Next and fulltime NASCAR K&N Series driver started in the 18th position on the grid after setting the fifth-fastest lap in round one of qualifying but became too tight in the second round of NCWTS qualifying on the .533 high banked Bristol, VA track. The starting spot didn’t deter the Boca Raton, Fl high school senior, as the goal for Sargeant was to get comfortable and go to the front by the end of the 200-lap event.
Under the first caution on lap 33 Sargeant reported to the crew that the No. 5 GALT Toyota Tundra was loose on the entry and middle of the corner. Veteran crew chief and team owner, Richie Wauters brought the driver down pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel and a track bar adjustment to try to tighten up the No. 5 truck. The caution flag was shown again on lap 81 and Sargeant noted the truck was still loose. The Wauters Motorsports team brought him back down pit road for more adjustments and restarted in the 17th place.
When the caution flag flew again on lap 113 Sargeant said the truck was unstable on the high side of the race track but the team decided not to pit to obtain track position and restarted in the 12th position on lap 120. Sargeant lost a few positions from the teams that opted to stop for fresh tires, positioning him in the 16th position on lap 140.
On lap 160 the No. 23 truck collided with the leader, which made slight contact with the No. 5 GALT Toyota Tundra. To be cautious of any tire issues, the Wauters Motorsports team came back down pit road for four tires without any adjustments on the chassis.
During the caution laps rain drenched the speedway and the event was red flagged for 45-minutes until track drying was complete. The UNOH 200 Presented by ZLOOP restarted with just a 25 lap shootout. Sargeant restarted in the 15th position and advanced to 12th when the final caution flag of the night was flown on lap 197 sending the race into overtime.
From the time the flag was shown for the green-white-checkered restart there was three-wide racing from the front to the back of the pack. Sargeant was able to avoid the melee, advance forward and bring the No. 5 GALT Wauters Motorsports Toyota Tundra home to a 10th place finish in his top-tier NASCAR Touring Series debut at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“Overall I can’t be more than thankful for everybody at Richie Wauters Motorsports for our No. 5 GALT Toyota Tundra dialed in this evening. Just overall it was a huge learning process going out there and running the entire race,” Dalton Sargeant said. “(We) Finished all the laps, stayed on the lead lap the entire race and ended up bringing it home in the top-10. Just can’t be happier with that finish for my first Camping World Truck Series start, especially coming to a place like Bristol where it’s absolutely crazy and really difficult to find the same speed as the veterans of the series.
At the end of the race there it got pretty hectic, three-wide at a few points, but at the end of the day just really happy and learning a lot throughout the entire race. That was one of the important things to me coming in was just to learn as much as I can racing around some of these guys and all these veterans. Guys like Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney. It’s just been a really cool experience, and I can’t be more thankful for the opportunity.
The rain always had us a little bit nervous there but at the end of the day we were able to get the whole race in. If anything the rain really helped our performance tonight, it gave me an opportunity to come back to the hauler and talk to my crew chief Richie Wauters, my spotter Frank Bolter and digest the things I was doing correctly and discuss the things I was doing incorrectly. After the red flag the GALT Toyota Tundra was on a mission to gain positions on the track and I applied what I learned in the first 175 laps there at the end. All in all a really good day, we always said if we could get out of Bristol with a top-10 finish in my debut and Wauters Motorsports’ return then it would feel like a win for all of us so it certainly feels great.”