FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Ron Hornaday Jr. got his record 48th career NASCAR Trucks Series victory in the caution-filled race at Texas despite crossing the finish line in second place Friday night.
Johnny Sauter pulled away on the final restart with two laps left, but the series points leader was black-flagged by NASCAR because he dropped from the outside lane to the inside in front of Hornaday's Chevrolet before crossing the start-finish line. Sauter was dropped to 22nd place.
"Good way to steal one," Hornaday said while sitting down for his postrace interview.
Sauter led three times for a race-high 58 laps (of 168) at the 1½-mile, high-banked Texas track. He spun his Chrevrolet's tires on the restart as he dropped down the track.
"We both spun the tires and I left a lane down there for him," Sauter said while walking back to the garage.
Asked if he would appeal the ruling, Sauter harshly responded, "It's official, isn't it?"
There were a track-record 10 cautions for 46 laps. The race also set Texas records with 11 leaders and 19 lead changes — the most dramatic coming without the leading car being passed.
"As soon as the green dropped, he dropped in my lane, I was yelling, 'He's in my lane! Better stick by the rules! He's in my lane!'" Hornaday said. "If they didn't black flag him and gave it to him, I would have been fine either way. ... But they stuck to their guns and it was a call. I would have expected it if it was me."
Hornaday and crew chief Jeff Hensley said teams were warned repeatedly during the drivers' meeting before the race about staying in their chosen lanes on restarts.
The 52-year-old Hornaday, driving for Kevin Harvick Inc., won for third time in Texas, and got his first victory since October at Martinsville.
Hornaday and Sauter, who won at Martinsville, are the only series regulars with wins in the first nine races this season.
Before the final caution with seven laps left after Clay Rogers wrecked, Sauter led by 2.75 seconds over Hornaday. That led to another green-white-checkered finish at Texas with a black flag added to the mix.
"It's a sticky call," Hornaday said. "I hate that rule. I used to make all my time up when everybody was sleeping, pass five or six on the outside before I got there."
Rookie driver Parker Kligerman was posted in second place in his Dodge, while David Mayhew was third, his career-best finish.
Sauter still held onto the series points lead, by eight over Hornaday going into an extended break before the next race July 7 in Kentucky.
It has been a tough season for defending series season champion Todd Bodine. Things didn't get any better at Texas, where last summer he became the track's first six-time winner.
Bodine made contact in traffic with David Starr with 100 laps to go. Bodine then drove his Toyota to the garage and had his third DNF already this season, after failing to finish only three times last year. It was only the fourth time in 14 races at Texas that Bodine finished outside the top five. He was 31st out 35 trucks.
Austin Dillon, who led four times for 46 laps, was involved in two wrecks on the frontstretch that brought out caution.
The first was when he made contact with Matt Crafton when the two were battling for fourth place coming out of the fourth turn on the 89th lap. The record-tying ninth caution came out when Steve Arpin slid down in front of Dillon along the frontstretch.
Polesitter James Buescher, the Plano native who used to race on a one-fifth mile track at TMS, finished ninth. He led three times for only eight laps.