NASCAR Trucks: Bolt through radiator knocks out title contender Johnny Sauter

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Johnny Sauter entered today’s Fred’s 250 at Talladega down 19 points in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, but he’s going to leave in an even bigger hole.

On Lap 25, Sauter’s No. 98 ThorSport Racing Toyota Tundra was spotted slowing down the backstretch with a reported loss of power.

Sauter was able to get back to the pits, but was subsequently rolled back to the garage.

With points leader/ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton running in mid-pack after sustaining damage on pit road earlier, Sauter was actually leading the championship “as they run” when he suffered his setback.

Now, he’s set to fall back to more than 30 points off the lead behind Crafton, Ryan Blaney, and Darrell “Bubba” Wallace – with just four races remaining in the season after today’s event.

“[A bolt] went through the radiator…Just another kick in the [butt], I guess,” Sauter told Fox Sports. “…It didn’t feel like it blew up. It’s weird. The water temperature didn’t show anything and it just kind of stayed. They said it probably just pushed it out so fast it didn’t have an opportunity to reflect anything.

“Whatever. The championship’s over. From here on out, we can just race like hell.”

At Lap 40 of 94, Blaney and Wallace were running first and second on the race track.