Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 13 Hot Honeys/Curb Records Toyota Tundra, had an eventful evening at the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday night. After a conservative “hold back” strategy much of the race, the veteran hard charged to the lead with strong execution- only to be turned under a green-white-checker finish for a fiery crash that also collected teammate Matt Crafton. His finishing position, after all was said and done, was 24th. Starting in the 20th position, Sauter and crew chief Joe Shear, Jr. decided to execute a strategy to stay mid-pack through much of the starting laps.
After wheeling through four cautions with multiple truck casualties in the first 61 laps, Sauter emerged to make a run on lap 70. Moving from 16th to third in just 12 laps, Sauter was able to maneuver into the lead with help from fellow competitor Jason White. After a caution, Sauter was poised to take the green-white-checker and head to Victory Lane; but his hopes were dashed when John King turned the No. 13 into the outside wall, causing a chain reaction crash with multiple competitors – including his ThorSport Racing teammate, Matt Crafton. After being checked out in infield care, both teammates went back to the haulers to their teams – ultimately scored in 23rd and 24th, respectively. What happened that took you out of the race?
JOHNNY SAUTER: “Thought I was in pretty good position there, but it’s just a product of superspeedway racing. I was trying to get into the tri-oval and I think it’s just a racing deal. I wish it would have worked a little better with (Ron) Hornaday. I apologize for that, but we couldn’t really hook up. Daytona in the Truck Series has a lot of incidents — always has — always will. I’m glad to see a Toyota in victory lane, but we wanted it to be the 13.” Did you get hit from behind? “Yeah, for sure. It was pretty substantial help too. Nonetheless, I’m super proud of everybody on this Hot Honey’s/Curb Records Toyota. We were in position and I felt like we were in the cat bird seat there. You could see that I tried to do everything right and I was getting pushed the opposite way. Daytona’s been an Achilles heel for me — for whatever reason it’s impossible for me to get to a finish so I had no expectations going into the race today. Am I surprised that I’m standing here with a 24th place finish? No.”