DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Johnny Sauter won the crash-filled Truck Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Friday night, giving Chevrolet its first series victory at the famed track.

Sauter was out front on the final lap when the caution flag dropped following a harrowing wreck that sent Christopher Bell’s truck flipping through the air. Bell’s No. 4 Toyota flipped nearly 10 times before coming to a stop. Bell got out and walked to a waiting ambulance without assistance, a welcome sight at a track where there has been a number of scary wrecks in recent years.

Ryan Truex was second, followed by Parker Kligerman, Brandon Brown and Tyler Young.

The 100-lap race had two huge melees in the final 10 laps, the first one causing a red flag that lasted nearly 30 minutes.

Austin Theriault of Fort Kent, who broke his back last year after crashing into a concrete wall, thanked NASCAR and Daytona for its commitment to SAFER barriers following the first crash Friday. He finished 24th

Timothy Peters nudged Cameron Haley from behind, turning Haley sideways and starting a huge debacle that collected half the field. The crash happened in Turn 3 with eight laps to go and stopped the race for 28 minutes.

Theriault, pole-sitter Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, John Wes Townley, Rico Abreu, Cole Custer and Ben Kennedy were among the 18 trucks involved. Most of them ended up in the garage good.

IT’S BEEN 23 years since Joe Gibbs celebrated a Daytona 500 victory. Standing in his way now is a lineup as formidable as Howie Long, Marcus Allen and the 1983 Raiders.

Gibbs has four strong chances Sunday to earn a second Daytona 500 victory, and his stable of Toyotas has been among the strongest cars during Speedweeks. The main competition comes from Daytona’s favorite son – two-time 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates.

Denny Hamlin and reigning Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch already have given Gibbs a pair of wins this week at Daytona International Speedway. But the three-time Super Bowl winning coach has had his heart broken nearly two dozen times since Dale Jarrett took Joe Gibbs Racing to victory lane at Daytona in 1993.

NASCAR HAS BEEFED up its punishment system and will define specific behavioral offenses with predetermined penalties.

The new system will serve as a personal conduct code for members in all three national NASCAR series. The guidelines deal with on- and off-track isueds.

Among the sanctions, NASCAR will punish a competitor who takes premeditated action against a driver in the Chase.

Matt Kenseth complained last season about a two-race suspension for intentionally wrecking Joey Logano during the Chase. He said there was no precedent for NASCAR to suspend him.

The wide-ranging rulebook can serve punishments for infractions ranging from domestic abuse to critical comments directed toward the series.

NASCAR will not issue punishments via a class system like it does for technical infractions.

“What you’ll see is an effort by the sanctioning body to improve the level of transparency,” said Jim Cassidy, senior vice president of racing operations.