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Sauter bests Busch for first win at Martinsville

April 04, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Takes Truck Series points lead for first time with third career Truck victory

Pole-sitter Johnny Sauter passed Kyle Busch on the next-to-last lap of Saturday's Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway and held on to post his first Camping World Truck Series victory of the season and the third of his career.

Busch, who has never won a race at Martinsville, ran second, .453 seconds behind Sauter. Ron Hornaday finished third, followed by his team owner, Kevin Harvick, who recovered from early trouble to finish fourth.

Kroger 250

Pos. DriverMake
2.Kyle Busch Toyota
3.Ron Hornaday Chevrolet
4.Kevin Harvick Chevrolet
5.Timothy Peters Toyota

Sauter, whose wife, Cortney, is expecting a baby on Monday, said his truck was nearly perfect.

"About the only thing that was missing [Saturday] was leather interior," Sauter said in Victory Lane. "I think Kyle got in the corner and got loose [on the penultimate lap]. He got loose and swung the back around and tried to come back down, and I was there and I made contact with him.

"It's pretty cool when you can beat Kyle Busch."

There was at least one driver who disagreed with that statement.

"We had a shot, and we gave it away," Busch said. "I just hate it. We had a really good truck, [but] on that last restart, I couldn't turn. The front tires were just beat off it. If we didn't have that last caution come out [on Lap 241 of 250], we probably would have been all right.

"Johnny was really good, but I hate to lose at Martinsville. I'd love to win one here someday -- eventually."

Austin Dillon held the lead by four truck-lengths on Max Papis when Dusty Davis' crash in Turn 3, after contact from Todd Bodine's Toyota, brought out the 10th caution on Lap 202. The accident bunched the field for a restart on Lap 209; by then Harvick, who restarted ninth, had regained two laps he lost on pit road early in the race.

During the five green-flag laps that followed, Busch worked his way from sixth to second and Harvick from ninth to fifth. Bodine's spin caused the 11th caution on Lap 214 and tightened the field for a restart on Lap 220, with Dillon in the lead.

Busch regained the lead in the first corner and paced the field through one more yellow-flag period until Matt Lofton's spin in Turn 1 brought out the 13th caution and set up a four-lap sprint to the finish.

Sauter moved into first place in the points standings, five ahead of Matt Crafton, who finished 11th.

Tire wear was a huge issue in the race, as it has been all weekend, and Harvick felt it would be a major factor in Sunday's Goody's Fast Relief 500 Cup Series race.


-- This is Johnny Sauter's third Truck Series victory in his 65th start. Sauter's last win was at Kansas in May 2010 (23 starts).
-- Johnny Sauter becomes the fourth different winner in four Truck Series races this season.
-- This is Johnny Sauter's first Martinsville win in his seventh start. Sauter's previous best finish was 15th in this race last season.
-- Johnny Sauter is the 20th different driver to win at Martinsville in the Truck Series.
-- This is Johnny Sauter's first Truck win from the pole and the fourth time the Martinsville Truck race was won from the pole.
-- This is ThorSport Racing's fifth Truck Series victory and first at Martinsville.
-- Kyle Busch (second) has finished in the top two in 14 of his past 18 starts.
-- Ron Hornaday (third) has finished in the top three in the past three Truck races.
-- Kevin Harvick (fourth) recovered from two laps down to get his fourth top-five finish in his past five Martinsville Truck starts.
-- Timothy Peters (fifth) scored his best finish of the season and second consecutive top-10 finish.
-- Cole Whitt (sixth) has finished in the top 10 in the past three races.
-- Matt Crafton (11th) snapped a 19-race streak of finishing in the top 10.
-- Caleb Roark finished 19th in his Truck Series debut.

"It's a terrible tire," Harvick said. "There's no rubber on the race track. Who knows what it's going to be [on Sunday]?"