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Sauter steals truck win from Busch at Martinsville



Martinsville, VA (Sports Network) - Johnny Sauter passed Kyle Busch with less than two laps remaining to win Saturday's Kroger 250 Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

Busch was attempting to win at Martinsville for the first time, but Sauter chased down Busch just after the final restart with four laps to go, and then made the winning pass right before the white flag was displayed for the final lap in the 250-lap race.

"I think Kyle got into the corner and got loose," said Sauter, who started on the pole and led a race-high 71 laps. "He tried to come back down the track, and I was there and then made contact with him. It's pretty cool anytime you can beat Kyle Busch."

Sauter's third career victory in the series comes days before he and his wife, Cortney, are expecting their second child -- a girl. His most recent win came in May at Kansas.

He also became the first non-Sprint Cup Series regular to win a NASCAR national touring race this season.

Busch wound up finishing a half-second behind. He already has one truck victory, as well as three wins in Nationwide and one in Sprint Cup, this season.

"We had a shot, but we gave it away," a disappointed Busch said. "I just couldn't turn on that last restart. The front tires were just beat up. We were really good before that. If we didn't have that last caution, we would have been alright."

Ron Hornaday Jr., who won at Martinsville last October, finished third, while his teammate and boss, Kevin Harvick, overcame a two-lap deficit to finish fourth. Harvick, the defending race winner, dealt with an ill-handling truck and lost two laps during a lengthy pit stop for adjustments under caution.

He noted that tire issues played a factor in the race. Teams in both Sprint Cup and trucks have endured tire problems on this flat, half-mile track throughout the weekend.

"It was just a terrible tire, and there was no rubber on the racetrack," Harvick said. "Who knows what tomorrow is going to bring. It's just going to be about survival."

Sprint Cup runs its 500-lap race here on Sunday.

Timothy Peters finished fifth, followed by Cole Whitt, Austin Dillon and Ricky Carmichael. Brendan Gaughan and Max Papis rounded out the top-10.

The truck race featured 13 cautions, including one for a five-truck incident on lap 136. Matt Crafton got into the back of Brad Sweet, who then spun around and triggered the accident. Jeffrey Earnhardt and James Buescher made contact and then slammed hard into the wall. Earnhardt's front end briefly erupted into flames. No drivers were injured.

"That was a super hard hit, and it's kind of unreal to hit that hard at a track like this," said Earnhardt, who finished 34th in the 35-truck field.

NASCAR halted the race for almost 10 minutes due to track cleanup efforts.

Earlier this week, Earnhardt and team owner Rick Ware parted ways after Ware had accused him of seeking another ride in the series and attempting to take the team's sponsor, Fuel Doctor, with him. The two resolved their differences, with Earnhardt rejoining the team in time for Martinsville.

The win allowed Sauter to take over the points lead. He is five points ahead of Crafton, who finished 11th.

04/02 17:57:34 ET


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