MARTINSVILLE, Va.—Johnny Sauter passed Kyle Busch one lap before the finish to win the Trucks Series race at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday.
Busch had the race wrapped up until a caution with nine laps to go set up one final restart. He had a good start, but Sauter reeled him in and passed Busch right before the white flag.
Sauter then pulled away for his first win of the season, and third in 65 career series starts.
“Somebody finally beat Kyle Busch!” crew chief Joe Shear Jr. yelled after Sauter crossed the finish line.
Sauter took some satisfaction in beating Busch, who settled for second. Busch has five wins this year spanning NASCAR’s top three series, including one in the Trucks.
“Even if you are not a NASCAR fan, you know who Kyle Busch is because he wins every week,” Sauter said. “It’s cool to beat Kyle Busch, I can tell you that.”
The win pushed Sauter into the points lead, and he’s the first non-Sprint Cup Series driver to win a race this year. Cup drivers had won every event in all three of NASCAR’s national series prior to Sauter’s victory.
Busch, who led three times for 64 laps, believed he would have won if not for the final caution.
“We had a shot, we just gave it away,” he said. “During that last restart, I couldn’t turn. If we didn’t have that last caution, we probably would have been alright. I hate losing at Martinsville, I’d like to win one here someday.”
That’s how Sauter felt, too.
Martinsville had never been good to him, even though he’d steadily improved over the years. In the Trucks, his previous career best finish was 16th.
“This win is really big for me and really important to me,” Sauter said. “The times I have been here, whether it was Cup or Nationwide or Trucks, just never had nothing to show for it. Now I have something to show for it.”
Ron Hornaday Jr. finished third and was followed by Kevin Harvick and Timothy Peters.
Cole Whitt was sixth, Austin Dillon seventh, and Ricky Carmichael, Brendan Gaughan and Max Papis rounded out the top 10.