After having the dominant truck back in June when the Camping World Truck Series visited the Texas Motor Speedway, Johnny Sauter made an error that we have seen far too much of across the board in the 2011 NASCAR season.
On the final restart of the night, Sauter was lined up beside Ron Hornaday on the front row. When the green flag dropped, Sauter darted his No. 13 Thor Sport Racing Chevrolet down to the bottom of the track, and got clear of the No. 33 of Hornaday.
Pulling away and appearing to have the race in the bag, Sauter saw a moment that would not only turn his 2011 season upside-down, but also an indicator of things to come.
NASCAR issued the black flag for Sauter as they had determined he violated the NASCAR rule book as he changed lanes before the start finish line on the restart.
Coming to what should have been a checkered flag and an eventual cowboy hat victory lane celebration, Sauter was shown the blag flag and sent back to the twenty-second position,the final truck on the lead lap. Hornaday was instead the driver basking in the glory of victory that night.
The closing events of the race led to Sauter uttering his now famous quote, “God Bless America,” in his post race interview.
That race set the tone for the remainder of the 2011 campaign for Sauter. Never showing a lack of speed, Sauter has been able to contend for wins, top fives and top tens but being able to close the deal has eluded the team.
As the series heads back to the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, Sauter is in need of a good finish if he wants any shot of contending of the championship come Homestead. After last weekend’s ‘struggle’ in Martinsville, Sauter sits tied for third in the standings with none other but his Texas adversary, Hornaday.
But it won’t be an easy task for the No. 13 crew. Fellow title contenders; Austin Dillon, James Buescher and Hornaday have all had a history at running well on the high-speed Texas Motor Speedway. Not to mention, Dillon and Hornaday have been near untouchable as of late.
A strong showing in practice in which you could ‘throw a blanket’ over the four points contenders, Sauter will start his quest for redemption in the twelfth position.
Knowing what’s on the line, not just in this race, but also the championship picture, you can be sure to expect Sauter and team to be ‘all-out’ for the win this weekend in Texas.
And really, isn’t winning what racing is all about?