Martinsville Race Report

Sauter pulls away for first '98 win By Shawn A. Akers MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Sept. 26, 1998) Call it what you want, but Jay Sauter isn't going to apologize for winning Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series NAPA 250 at Martinsville Speedway. ...

Sauter pulls away for first '98 win By Shawn A. Akers

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Sept. 26, 1998) Call it what you want, but Jay Sauter isn't going to apologize for winning Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series NAPA 250 at Martinsville Speedway.

Just because Ron Hornaday and Jimmy Hensley appeared primed to battle it out for the victory in the closing laps, it doesn't mean Sauter didn't believe he had a chance to be either of the two to the checkered flag.

When Hornaday and Hensley did their imitation of demolition derby over the final 15 laps, Sauter cruised by both of them in his No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet and earned his first win of the 1998 campaign.

Sauter took advantage of Hensley and Hornaday's bumping session, taking the lead from Hornaday on lap 236 and holding on for his first win in over a year.

"You can say that we were lurking around, but I think we were charging," Sauter said. "We were coming as hard as we could, and I say that we had enough time to overtake both of them in the last few laps. Our truck was awesome. Even before Ron and Jimmy started bumping and banging each other, we were making up ground. Really, we were about three-tenths of a second quicker than those guys were. Getting around them, now, that was a different story."

Hensley had the point for 61 laps before Hornaday gave him a nudge on lap 232 and passed him on a restart. After another caution flag, Hornaday had the point on the restart, but Hensley gave him a reciprocal nudge from the back, allowing Sauter to overtake both of them.

Hensley was attempting to win his second race of the season, while Hornaday was going for his seventh.

"On that first restart, Hornaday just raced me right from the drop of the flag," Hensley said. "That second restart, he raced me hard in the corner. He (Hornaday) said that he hit the curb and jumped into me in one and two, and when he took me to the wall in turn three we were just racing hard. Racing hard is what Martinsville is all about, and that is what happened at the end of the race today.

"Ron and I have the utmost respect for each other. We're in this for the racing and the show, today we put on a heck of a show for the Martinsville race fans. Second ain't bad."

"Racin' hard," Hornaday said of the contact. "Jimmy pushed up and I got underneath him and got a good run down there. I put some front brake in it and I got skidded, my front tires hit the front curb and I got into Jimmy.

"Hate to see that 'cause Jimmy runs me clean. It might have been his race and I messed him up, who knows. I thought we had a great truck today. I'm glad that Sauter won, you know, Jay has just done an excellent job all year and had a good truck today.

"When Hornaday's around, something is going to happen," Sauter said. "I don't mean that he's a bad driver, that means he's an awesome driver. When those two did get into each other, that was a big break for us."

Sauter broke a 40-race winless streak, dating back to May 31 of last year when he won the Pennzoil VIP Discount Center 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway. He became the 12th different winner in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season -- a series record -- and became the ninth consecutive different winner in the series, dating back to Aug. 2.

"We've been under a lot of pressure lately to get this win," Sauter said. "We've been leading races and running up front. These guys (his crew) have been behind me 100 percent."

Stacy Compton got a lap down early in the race when a plug wire came loose. He was able to make the lap back up later, however, and came back to finish fourth in his No. 86 Royal Crown Cola Ford.

Rich Bickle , last year's race winner, finished fifth, followed by Dennis Setzer, Tony Raines, Bud Pole winner Greg Biffle, Randy Renfrow and Jack Sprague.

Hornaday, the series' 1996 champion, regained the points lead from Sprague, the defending champ with four races left in the season, unofficially leading Sprague by 26 points.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Rich Bickle , Greg Biffle , Jay Sauter , Stacy Compton , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Tony Raines , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Jimmy Hensley