Drivers walk away from savage crash in Truck race at Charlotte

1 Comment

CONCORD, N.C. — Johnny Sauter and Trey Hutchens III each walked away from a vicious crash in Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Hutchens’ truck was well off the pace on the frontstretch after cutting a tire late in the race. But the caution did not come out until after Johnny Sauter — in traffic and unaware of Hutchens’ situation — slammed into the back of Hutchens’ truck.

A NASCAR spokesperson said that when Hutchens had his incident, Matt Crafton’s truck was smoking and speeding down pit road. The spokesperson said officials focused on Crafton and “whether there was any oil on the track that needed cleaning to avoid any further incidents. Once the collision occurred with (Sauter), we threw the caution.”

Sauter described what he saw:

“From what I understand, (Hutchens) was basically sitting on the race track. I’m not the only one that didn’t see him, I guess.

“I had just pitted, and I think there were four trucks in front of me, excluding (Hutchens) and two of them were coming to pit road, so I just worked my way to the top there. As we were coming off (Turn 4), there was a truck sitting there, I guess.”

Hutchens explained what happened to him:

“I cut a tire getting into (Turn) 3 and tried to slow down to get to pit road and the hole closed up, so I ended up slow down the frontstretch and (Sauter) just ran into the back of us. …  They were coming pretty hard. They probably needed to throw the yellow a little sooner.”

The contact caused two of the tires on Sauter’s truck to come off and scattered debris. A piece of debris hit the top of the windshield and roof of John Hunter Nemechek’s truck.

“I heard a big thump and that was about it,” said Nemechek, who went on to win Friday’s race. “There was smoke and all kinds of stuff flying. I think I was more or less looking at (Sauter’s truck) trying to figure out where he was going to go as he was sliding. I saw door bars and then we were out of it. I didn’t necessarily see the tire hit it. I knew there was stuff flying and we were hitting stuff.”

Nemechek said didn’t see Hutchens’ truck.

“I don’t know if being a dark-colored truck and kind of in a blind spot, I didn’t know, and then all of a sudden I knew I was running down the guys in front of me and it was pretty much like a fireball and stuff flying everywhere,” he said.