NEWTON, Iowa – Though they largely became a footnote after the stunning news of Ross Chastain’s disqualification broke Sunday at Iowa Speedway, Austin Hill and Johnny Sauter minced no words following an on-track scuffle in the final stage of the M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Stores.
Sauter got into Hill going into turn one as the pair raced for seventh, but both drivers gathered their trucks and continued on – at least in that moment.
Barely a lap later, Hill came back at Sauter and returned the favor with a heavier tag in turns three and four, sending Sauter spinning up the race track and hard into the outside wall.
Sauter quickly got his No. 13 Tenda Heal Ford F-150 righted, raced back around the track, hunted down Hill’s No. 16 ARCO Construction Toyota and shoved it up into the outside wall before nosing into the Hill’s driver’s door and eventually driving off from the scene of the incident.
NASCAR officials parked Sauter for his actions, while Hill continued on and ultimately finished 12th.
Sauter initially declined to comment to television and reporters after being checked and released from the infield care center. Hill, however, had plenty to say about the situation after climbing from his truck at the end of the race.
“It’s hard to race with that guy,” said Hill of Sauter. “We were racing hard getting into turn one. He got into me a little bit and I kind of returned the favor.
“I don’t race like that. If you are going to race me like that and try and take me out … I’m not going to put up with it. I try and race everybody clean, but when they race me like that, I can’t put up with it,” Hill continued. “We’ll just move on. I have bigger things to worry about than the No. 13 truck. I’m more focused on the championship. We’re just going to keep working and see what happens.”
Hill also expressed that he doesn’t have much interest in sorting things out with Sauter face-to-face, at least not right away.
“If he wants to come talk to me about it he can,” noted Hill, “but it won’t be nice words.”
According to a NASCAR spokesperson, Sauter could face a suspension for his on-track actions on Sunday afternoon – but the 2016 Truck Series champion said after meeting with series officials he isn’t stressing.
“(They’ll do) whatever they gotta do,” Sauter told reporters. “I’m a big boy; I’m 41-years-old and that’s the way it goes.”