What simply had to be the two best saves of the Camping World Truck Series season occurred at exactly the same time and within inches of each other Sunday afternoon at Kansas Speedway. When the two trucks involved finally got pointed back in the proper direction, it was the one driven by Johnny Sauter that had the lead and would go on to win the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250. The other truck involved, that of Ron Hornaday Jr., finished second but left its driver buzzing like a radio with a bad tube.
“You can't tell me that Kansas didn't like that one,” Hornaday, not generally known to be all that excited about a second-place finish, shouted as he entered the post-race interview room.
Sauter, wearing a very large and sticky smear of birthday cake on his fire suit, was equally excited. As well he should be.
“I bet it looked pretty cool on TV,” said Sauter, who turned 32 on Saturday.
With 13 laps to go, Sauter had the lead heading down the backstretch, but Hornaday pulled even on his low side. Hornaday's truck suddenly hooked right—right into Sauter. Both spun simultaneously. With smoke pouring from the wheel wells of both trucks, they turned 60 degrees sideways.
The two drivers, who have a history of roughing each other up on the track and in the pits afterward, cranked the steering wheels and both executed highlight-clip saves.
“He got into me,” Sauter said. “I couldn't help but sit there and think as I was trying to save it … that darn Hornaday got me again within a month's time. But it all worked out. That was good. That was good for the fans.”
The victory was the first of the year for Sauter and moved him from 14th to fifth in the point standings.
Sauter said he felt good about his truck before it even arrived at Kansas. It was the same truck he used to win his first truck race last September in Las Vegas and finish 11th at Nashville the last time out.
Todd Bodine finished third and moved into second in the standings, 22 points behind Timothy Peters, who finished 23rd, six laps back.