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Sauter runs up front in Gander Outdoors Vegas tests

With qualifying and race on a busy Friday, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series hit the track on Thursday for a couple test sessions.

For Johnny Sauter, the proof of his ability to run at the front was once again evident as the 40-year-old Necedah native finished at or near the top in both practice sessions on the 1.5 mile oval with 12-20 degree banking.

For 21-year-old Natalie Decker, the first practice session on a busy two-race weekend that will see her covering three time zones, her ability to quickly learn on new tracks was evident as well.

Out of the box, Sauter collected the fastest time, running 22 laps with a best time of 30.219 seconds for a speed of 178.696 mph. in his #13 Tenda Heal Ford F-150, a shade until 2/100 of a second faster than Ben Rhodes, also racing a Ford.

Decker completed 20 laps and posted a best time of 31.495 seconds for 171.456 mph in her first time on track with her #54 N29 Technologies Toyota Tundra which ranked her 27th fastest.

The second time out on Thursday, Sauter shave about a tenth of a tick off his tie, posting best lap of 30.047 seconds for a speed of 179.718 mph on one of his 32-laps run. This time out, the time was bettered by Matt Crafton who topped the sheet with a time of 30.013 seconds and a best speed of 179.922 mph.

Decker showed a big improvement, shaving a half-second off her time to 30.923 seconds and a speed of 174.627, jumping up to 18th on the list.

Next time on the track for the Gander Outdoors Truck Series racers will be today (Friday, March 1) for qualifying at 4:10 p.m. and they will be back to line up for the start of the Stratosphere 200.

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