Raw emotions on Pocono pit road after wrecks
August 03, 2013, David Caraviello, NASCAR.com
LONG POND, Pa. -- Johnny Sauter was angry, and Todd Bodine was crushed. While Ryan Blaney celebrated in Victory Lane on Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway, the emotions were much different down on pit road.
That was where NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship contenders Sauter and Ty Dillon exchanged words following their on-track contact during the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, and where the veteran Bodine lamented the spin that took him out of contention in a race he was leading -- until a late caution changed everything on the 2.5-mile track.
Bodine led 16 laps, and was out front until a restart with four to go when Blaney made the first of two big surges that resulted in his second career win. Bodine drifted up the track and spun, leading to a green-white-checkered attempt where Dillon and Sauter made contact to force double overtime, in which Blaney overtook German Quiroga for the victory.
Sauter and Dillon exchanged words on pit road, but there was no physical contact between the drivers or crews. It was a costly accident for Sauter, who claimed Dillon cut him off to cause the crash -- which also involved Dominick Casola -- and dropped five spots to 10th in points after his 19th-place result.
“It’s like I wasn’t even there,” said Sauter, whose ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton maintained the series lead. “The 3 truck (of Dillon) just drove across the front end and wrecked us. We wrecked two trucks. There’s nothing more to say. … I just told him he’d be wise to take some of that money he’s got and invest it in a new spotter.”
Dillon wound up 20th, dropping one position in points to fifth. “I hate our trucks got torn up,” the Richard Childress Racing driver said. “It was just a mistake.”
Sauter said Dillon apologized, but “that doesn’t fix a wrecked race truck. We’re running out of trucks. We work way too hard for this, and it’s starting to piss me off.”
Meanwhile, Bodine was smarting over his 11th-place finish in a one-off deal with Turner Scott Motorsports. The two-time Truck Series champion was leading on a restart with four laps remaining in regulation, but drifted up the track in Turn 1 and found himself on the outside of a three-wide sandwich with James Buescher in the middle. Bodine went around, and although he didn’t hit anything, his chances to win were done.
“Pretty crushed,” Bodine said. “… Came here last year, and I got crashed running second. Came here this year, and I got spun out running first. It’s pretty disappointing.”
Bodine has run eight races this year for two different teams, and is unsure of his forthcoming schedule -- he hopes to run Michigan and Bristol, but Saturday didn’t know of when or if those deals might come together. Despite what might have been, his finish at Pocono still tied Bodine’s best of the season and was his best Pocono finish after two previous 12th-place efforts.
“It’s just so much fun to drive good equipment again,” he said. “After you drive junk for a while, you start doubting yourself and wondering. I proved today, I may be the second-oldest guy here … but I still can get it done.”
Bodine also wasn’t happy with the debris caution that prompted the restart where he spun out and Blaney moved to the front. “It’s one of them BS calls you’ve got to live with,” Bodine said. “Everybody knew we were here, and that’s what was important.”
As Bodine tries to piece together backing for another ride with Turner Scott, Sauter is trying to rebound after two difficult finishes in a row. He and Dillon also made contact in a qualifying heat nine days earlier at Eldora, and when they were involved in the same accident in the main event when dirt specialist Jared Landers spun and collected the two series regulars. Sauter finished 29th in that event.
“I hate it for my guys more than anything,” he said. “They work way too damn hard for this. It’s just disappointing.”