Johnny Sauter changes his tune on Ben Rhodes’ move at end of Kansas race

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Johnny Sauter called Ben Rhodes a “bozo,” and wondered if the 19-year-old was “brain dead or can’t see” Friday night, but Sauter had a different tone Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Sauter led on the last lap of last weekend’s Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway when Rhodes made contact from behind, sending Sauter into the wall. The incident allowed William Byron, who was running third, to pass both and score his first career series victory.

Sauter, who finished 16th, wasn’t happy after the race and expressed his displeasure in an interview on FS1. Rhodes took the blame after the race, calling his action a “rookie mistake.”

Tuesday, Sauter was contrite.

“Up until I had done that interview, I hadn’t seen any replays,’’ said Sauter, who has a win and is in position to make the Truck Series’ Chase. “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 them back and I hate that I said that.’’

So what happened on the track? Sauter explained:

“I came off Turn 2 and I had a pretty good lead, and I went down the backstretch and I swerved, obviously to try to just break their draft as much as you possibly can. When I did that, the floats in the carburetor or something happened and actually the motor started missing there a little bit a couple of times going down the backstretch. That’s ultimately what enabled him to get close to me.’’

Sauter also went on to say: “I just put us both in precarious positions. 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. I think it’s obviously something we’re going to address on our end so that it doesn’t happen again.’’