WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) – Despite a black flag halfway through the race, Johnny Sauter had little trouble dominating the rain-shortened SBC 250 at the Milwaukee Mile on Saturday night.

The race was shortened from 250 to 200 miles after a storm dumped heavy rain on the track.

Sauter, from Necedah, Wis., easily had the fastest car. He led 162 of the 200 laps and won for just the third time in 123 Busch Series starts.

Martin Truex Jr. was second, and Paul Menard finished third. J.J. Yeley was fourth and David Stremme fifth as 10 cars were on the lead lap when the race was stopped.

Series points leader Reed Sorenson finished 12th, a lap behind Sauter.

On lap 112, Sauter was the only driver on the lead lap, but he tapped Tony Raines on turn four, sending Raines spinning and bringing out the caution flag.

Race officials gave Sauter a black flag for rough driving, making him move to the back of the line during the caution.

Randy LaJoie was the highest scored driver on the non-lead lap, and moved into first due to Sauter’s black flag. Sauter was dropped to second.

“I screwed up there and got into Tony Raines,” Sauter said. “It was a stupid mistake on my part, I guess.”

Sauter said he apologized to Raines.

LaJoie led for just two laps before Sauter regained the lead and held on.

Sauter led from the start until heading to the pits during the first yellow flag 22 laps in. He changed tires and came out of the pits in third on lap 58, but quickly used his Yellow FleetPride Dodge and new tires to reclaim the lead from Ron Hornaday Jr., last year’s winner at the Milwaukee track.

“I, honestly, was questioning the call (to pit) but I didn’t say anything,” he said. “Then I started picking off cars left and right, and it was obvious they made the right call.”

Earlier Saturday, Sauter had won the pole with a speed of 122.595 mph. It was the third career pole for Sauter, and the first time he turned it into a victory.

In 15 previous Busch Series races, Sauter’s best finish this year had been third in the race at Richmond, which was also the site of his last Busch Series victory, on Sept. 5, 2003.

Sauter was the first driver to win from the pole in Milwaukee since Greg Biffle did it in 2002. He was the first Wisconsin native to win the event in 15 races at the Milwaukee Mile.

It was Sauter’s fourth Busch Series race in Milwaukee. His previous best finish was a 12th in 2002.

It was the first Busch Series race not to be completed since Nov. 1, 2003, at Phoenix, which had 181 of its 200 laps completed before it was stopped due to darkness.

AP-ES-06-26-05 0102EDT


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