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Timothy Peters Surprise Victor in Camping World Truck Race
Author: Mark W. Theisen
July 30th 2011 - View all Photos

By:  Mark W. Theisen

CLERMONT, INDIANA JULY 29, 2011 In rare instances in racing it just falls into place and tonight at Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Clermont, Indiana it did just that for Timothy Peters, who after spinning on lap 91, came roaring back to win the AAA Insurance 200 lap NASCAR Camping World series truck race in what could possibly be the last appearance of the series at the track.
     Peters, who had won in the series just twice in 106 starts, dove to the pits after causing the 4th caution flag of the race for fuel and tires and when he emerged from the pits in 16th,  after running with the leaders of the race at the time of his spin, had his work cut out for him.
     What ensued after his stop was a real rarity in racing today, the final 107 laps of the race went caution free despite ominous threats of rain and storms in the area and the fact that the track is well-known for its late race accidents and with that it became a real cat and mouse race for those involved.
     Austin Dillon, brother of last nights ARCA race winner Ty, gave Richard Childress Racing its second pole position in as many nights at Lucas Oil Raceway by edging Elliott Sadler for the top spot as the 200 lap race began with thunder storm warnings in the area.
     The first caution of the race occurred in the first turn of the first lap when Johanna Long, Jason White and Ryan Seig got together as the field bunched tightly entering the turn on the initial lap.
     Racing resumed on lap six with Dillon leading series point leader Johnny Sauter, Sadler, Joey Coulter and Parker Klingerman.
     Matt Crafton joined the front group on lap 30 as Sauter was moving in on Dillon and was able to take the lead on lap 36 as a few rain drops began to fall.
     With thunder and lightning off in the distance the rain became more intense and the yellow was waived on lap 41.  The rain was never strong enough for series officials to deem the track “lost” to the elements thus the trucks where kept on the track to keep heat in the surface and jet dryers joined them to keep the upper groves of the track from becoming too wet.
     17 total laps were lost to the drying efforts and when the green flag came out on lap58 it was Sauter leading Crafton, Dillon, James Buescher and Coulter as a few of the front running drivers took advantage to make pit stops just prior to the race going back to green.
     Tommy Joe Martins and Brendan Gaughan made contact on lap 80 in the fourth turn to bring out the third caution flag of the race and that sent most of the front running cars to the pits including Sauter, Crafton, Dillon, Buescher and Coulter.
     Staying out was Klingerman, Clay Roger, Nelson Piquet Jr., Todd Bodine and Josh Richards, all who had stopped right after the rain stopped falling and it was sure that the race was to resume.
     Klingerman was surprisingly fast on his older tires as Sauter was the man on the move following his pit stop.  Sauter re-entered the top five on lap 87 and was closing in on Klingerman when the caution appeared for Peters spin on lap.
     Joining Peters in the pits where all those that did not stop previously except for Klingerman, whose team determined that, track position was the best for their driver at the time.
     On the restart Sauter was able to jump ahead of Klingerman to lead lap 95 but he was trapped by some lapped cars on the next lap and Klingerman was back in front on lap 96.
     Buescher passed Sauter for second on lap 97 and then took advantage of Klingerman’s older tires and overtook the leader on lap 99 and it was clear that Klingerman was now at a disadvantage with his worn tires as Sauter, Dillon, Bodine, and Ron Hornaday Jr. quickly relegated him to a mid-pack truck as the race worn.
     With Buescher building a lead of over 3 seconds on Sauter and Dillon by lap 130 his crew and those of the other drivers where wondering when the next caution would come out.
    Ironically the crews began to scramble on lap 135 when Sauter lost his left front tire entering the first turn but he was able to keep his truck righted and he came around to the pits for his stop with the yellow flag being waived.  Sauter also suffered sway bar damage as he rode around the track on his flat tire and it took four laps for his crew to make repairs and return him to the race.
     Klingerman finally made a pit stop on lap 155 when it looked as though the yellow would not come out and by lap 170 the crew chiefs were telling their drivers including Buescher, Crafton, Dillon, David Starr and Cole Whitt to begin fuel and tire conservation.
      While all this was going on Peters was moving through the field entering the top 6 on lap 160, the top 5 on lap 172 and on lap 180 he was in third as a few of the front runners bit the bullet and made their stops surrendering their positions to ensure that they finish.
     Buescher and his crew would have none of that as they were going for their first ever series win and still held a two second advantage over Dillon and Starr at the 185th lap juncture.
     With teams having right front tire wear issues all night and with 100 laps on his tires Buescher was forced to back way off in the turns with ten laps to go and Peters came by on lap 195 with Buescher, Dillon and Starr holding on as best they could.
     The elusive yellow flag never came and with the white flag out when Dillon and Bodine collided on the back stretch on the final lap the win was Peters with Buescher, Starr, rookie Miguel Paludo Jr. and Hornaday Jr. rounding out the top five as the pits were flooded late with cars and several actually ran out of gas on the final lap to greatly jumbled the running order at the end.
     “This is unbelievable”, said a jubilant Peters in victory lane after posting his first win since the season opening Daytona race in 2010.  “Who would have thought that the race would have went that long without a caution flag, but you have deal with what it is and tonight it was our night.  Our team needed this shot in the arm.  We have been running with limited sponsorship and perhaps this will help us in our search for additional help.”
Peters echoed the sentiment from a litany of truck series drivers when he said, “I hope they (NASCAR and Lucas Oil Raceway) can work things out to bring us back. This is a fine track, a knowledgeable crowd and a great event.  To lose this all would be shameful and I really don’t want to be known as the last truck series to win a race here.  It is nice to win but that distinction is something I could do without.”
     “Timothy (Peters) definitely did a good job conserving his tires,” said Buescher, who saw his first series win slip away on worn tires.  “It was hard not to race him but our tires were gone.  Fuel was not an issue but to pit would have been costly to us in the points so we worked with the cards we were dealt with.  It’s a shame because we prepared so hard to this race but everyone had the same conditions to deal with and it just worked out for Timothy.”
    “Everyone was out there on worn tires,” said Starr.  “That we didn’t have a wreck was a testament to the quality of drivers we have in this series.  I was just hanging on.”
     Now it is up to track organizers and NASCAR as to the future of the race at the track.  NASCAR has already moved the Nationwide race to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for next year and the track opted out of their contract for the truck series race for Kroger Speed Fest next year.  The future of the truck race is to “be determined”.