NASCAR parked Johnny Sauter in Sunday’s M&Ms 200 Gander Outdoors Truck Series after he retaliated and slammed Austin Hill into the wall at Iowa Speedway.
Hill got into the rear of Sauter’s truck on Lap 137, causing Sauter to back into the outside wall.
Sauter got his truck going and hunted down Hill under caution, slamming Hill’s truck in the rear and pushing it into the wall on Lap 139.
NASCAR officials immediately ordered Sauter to park his truck in the garage, which he did. Hill’s truck suffered moderate damage but continued. Sauter and Hill were ordered to the NASCAR hauler after the race.
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Whether Sauter will be penalized remains to be seen. NASCAR issued this statement: “Per normal procedures, any penalties that may result will be announced early in the week.”
Sauter had no comment after exiting the infield care center. Sauter talked to reporters after exiting the NASCAR hauler after the race.
Hill finished 13th. He spoke with FS1 after the race:
“We were racing hard, getting into Turn 1, he got into me a little bit and I kind of returned the favor. I don’t race like that, but if you’re going to race me like that and try to take me out — I guess he was mad from Texas last week, I don’t know — but I’m not going to put up with it.
“I try to race everybody clean, but when they race you like that, I don’t put up with it. … We’ll just move on. I have better things to worry about than (Sauter). I’m more focused on the championship. … If he wants to come talk to me, he can, but they won’t be nice words.”
Here’s the full interview from Hill:
Later, Hill had this to say:
“I guess he’s mad about the Texas ordeal. He held me really tight down in Texas and I don’t know what he expects. The guy on the inside is always going to get loose when you hold somebody that tight. I got loose up under him and got into him in Texas and we never really talked about it. I don’t have his number or anything.
“When I saw him at the track he kind of snubbed me, well today, or yesterday rather. So I said, ‘Okay, if that’s how he wants to race, let’s race that way.’ I was racing everyone as clean as I could all day long and I guess he was mad that he couldn’t get by me.
“Drove down into turn one and he tried to wreck me then. I don’t like racing like that. If they’re going to try to wreck you like that, I’m going to retaliate. I don’t care if it was more than what he gave me, it’s racing. You want to get into me, I’ll show you that I won’t put up with it.”
Section 10.10.a of the Truck Rule Book explains Parking:
A NASCAR Supervisory Official may direct a Competitor to cease Competition, to leave the racing premises, or to bring the vehicle to the pit road and/or garage area for a specified number of lap(s) and/or a specified time penalty, for the balance of Practice, Qualifying, Qualifying Race, Race, or future NASCAR Races, if it is necessary to do so to promote the orderly conduct of the NASCAR Event(s). Such a directive will be given only in extraordinary circumstances, as determined by the NASCAR Supervisory Official(s). It will not be deemed or construed to be a disqualification, suspension or other “penalty” within the meaning of Section 12 Violations and Disciplinary Action and is not appealable under that Section.
As to what NASCAR could do to Sauter, section 12.8.1.c of the Rule book notes:
Member actions that could result in a loss of 25-50 driver and Team Owner Points and/or $12,500-$25,000 fine and/or one Race suspension, indefinite suspension, or termination:
- Physical confrontation with a NASCAR Official, media members, fans, etc.
- Member-to-Member confrontation(s) with physical violence and other violent manifestations such as significant threat(s) and/or abuse and/or endangerment.
- Attempting to manipulate the outcome of the Race or championship.
- Intentionally wrecking another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from Competition as a result.