Johnny Sauter sprinted away from upstart rookie Jeb Burton on the final restart and won Saturday’s Kroger 250 Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.
Burton, who dominated the early part of the race, led Sauter on the restart with 17 laps to go, but Sauter zoomed forward from the outside lane and took the spot from Burton. Sauter wasn’t challenged the rest of the way. Matt Crafton finished second, and Burton was third.
The victory gave Sauter a perfect record for 2013. He also won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
The race finish was set up with 22 laps to go when Kevin Harvick bumped into the rear of Todd Bodine, sending Bodine into the wall and bringing out the day’s 11th caution.
That reset the field, with Burton first and Sauter second.
Burton led the first segment of the race before losing first in a big pack on a restart.
A few laps later, Burton regained first place, and it was ugly. Trailing leader Ron Hornaday Jr., Burton hit the rear of Hornaday’s truck entering the turn, sending Hornaday into a spin and into the outside wall.
The rear of Hornaday’s truck received significant damage.
After the wreck, Harvick, Hornaday’s teammate, drove beside Burton under caution to offer a “pointed-finger” message that Burton’s move had been too aggressive.
“Live and learn,” Burton said after the race. “I didn’t mean to wreck him.”
The race’s first caution appeared when Grant Galloway spun in turn two on lap 59. Galloway repeated the spin later to cause another caution and also was involved in a third caution.
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 31 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.