After crashing with Rhodes on the final lap of Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway, leader Johnny Sauter minced no words in expressing his unhappiness. He accused the 18-year old of being “brain dead or can’t see,” after the pair spun in the final turn, handing the race to rookie William Byron.
Speaking on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio today, Sauter apologized for his remarks, saying Rhodes’ actions were not as underhanded as he had first believed.
“Up until I had done that interview, I hadn’t seen any replays,’’ said Sauter, who limped his battered machine beneath the checkered flag to claim a 16th-place finish. “I was under the assumption that he just drove straight into the back of me, and that wasn’t necessarily the case. I called Ben and told him that all the things that I said, I take back.
“I hate that I said that.’’
“I came off Turn 2 and I had a pretty good lead,” he said. “I went down the backstretch and I swerved… to try to break the draft as much as you possibly can. When I did that, the floats in the carburetor (stuck) or something happened. Actually, the motor started missing a little bit -- a couple of times -- going down the backstretch. That’s ultimately what enabled him to get close to me.
“I put us both in precarious positions,” he admitted. “My motor was missing. I must have starved it for fuel and it enabled him to close on me. I saw the position it put him in. I saw how fast he had closed on me. He probably didn’t expect it, nor did I. It was just a racing incident. It’s unfortunate.”
Rhodes initially accepted blame for accident post-race, calling his contact with Sauter, "a rookie mistake.”