Johnny Sauter didn't let this one slip away. Instead, he avenged what ranks as his worst loss.
Sauter took the lead with 21 laps left, and stayed in front all the way until the checkered flag dropped in the WinStar World Casino 400 on Friday night for his first victory at Texas Motor Speedway.
The win comes a year after he blew what appeared to be a sure victory. Sauter had a costly error on the final restart in the same race, violating the NASCAR rule of moving out of your respective lane before reaching the start/finish line on the restart that resulted in a black-flag penalty.
That miscue paved the way for Ron Hornaday Jr. to win the race, as Sauter finished 22nd. But that's in the past.
"There's no sweeter vindication," said Sauter, driver of the No. 13 Hot Honeys/Curb Records Toyota.
"Last year was really tough to swallow. Whatever, rules are rules, but that was tough to swallow. ... We definitely had the dominant truck, and it's nice to see the dominant truck win the race."
Sauter had a strong car all night, and even had a little bit of luck in finding his way to Victory Lane.
Sauter and James Buescher, the leaders at the time, avoided trouble on Lap 74. Paulie Harraka got loose going into Turn 2, bumped into Max Gresham and slid into the wall.
Sauter and Buescher avoided the wreckage, though, dropping down to the inside lane.
It seemed fitting that something would finally go right for Sauter, too. He entered the race by finishing 24th or worse in five of the six races. He had completed all of the laps in only one race, a fourth-place run at Rockingham.
It was a different night for Sauter and his team.
"Johnny was the class of the field, his truck was really good," said Matt Crafton, who finished second for the third time in 23 starts at TMS.
Joey Coulter finished third followed by Brendan Gaughan and Nelson Piquet, Jr.
Buescher, meanwhile, saw his chances come to an end on Lap 138. Rookie Ty Dillon got loose on Turn 1 and into Buescher, who kissed off the wall. That forced Buescher to pit road, while Dillon stayed on the track.
Buescher finished 15th, while Dillon came in seventh. The two drivers talked afterward, but didn't seem to agree on the incident.
"He was real mad, and he had the right to be," Dillon said. "It sounded to me like he wanted me to move over, and I'm not doing that. It was my fault, I owned up to that. But I ain't going to pull over for you and let you win the race.
"Just tough racing. I was going to win my first race and he was racing to win in Texas."
Buescher, a Plano native, has come close the past three races at Texas. He was the pole sitter at each truck race last year, but finished ninth and 19th, respectively.
Justin Lofton led a race-high 55 laps, and came in ninth. The 26-year-old entered the race as the points leader, and stayed atop the standings with a five-point edge over Timothy Peters.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760