Associated Press - FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Johnny Sauter won the NASCAR Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night to become the first driver earn a spot in the series championship finale in two weeks.
The 39-year-old Sauter held off 19-year-old Austin Cindric for his third victory of the season and fourth in Texas.
The top three spots were claimed by drivers still in the chase for the four-man championship showdown at Homestead on Nov. 17. Christopher Bell finished third, and is second behind Sauter in the playoff standings.
Two of the playoff drivers made critical mistakes in the race.
John Hunter Nemecheck was leading with 13 laps to go, but ran out of gas and was required to pit. He was then given a penalty for speeding out of the pit road and ended up finishing 19th.
Ben Rhodes was in the top 10 for much of the race, but a faulty pit stop with 17 laps to go dropped him into the back of the pack and he finished 18th.
Matt Crafton, another playoff contender, finished ninth.
More AP Auto Racing: http://racing.ap.org