July 15, 2012
Timothy Peters wins American Ethanol 200
Published in Indianapolis Star
NEWTON, Ia. -- The conversation turned to superstitions Friday afternoon inside the media center at Iowa Speedway when Timothy Peters acknowledged he abides by a few time-honored racing rituals.
Despite consciously keeping green paint away from his truck and steering clear of peanut shells and $50 bills, the 31-year-old Virginian admitted he ultimately believes a driver makes his fortune.
Peters had a fast truck Saturday night, but it certainly didn’t hurt to have a little luck on his side, too.
Peters capitalized twice on the misfortune of others to win the American Ethanol 200, claiming his first victory of the season and extending his lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings.
Peters grabbed the lead on a restart with five laps remaining when Ron Hornaday spun his tires and pulled away for his fourth victory in 127 career races on the circuit.
“I was definitely glad to see that last caution come out because Ron was definitely good on one or two laps and then he really struggled on (turns) one and two, and I felt like that was my strong corner all night long,” Peters said.
“I’ve been playing mental pictures in my mind on what I can do to be better (on restarts) and I was going to make sure tonight I hit my points. ... I know Ron is considered the restart king, (but) we launched really well.”
Hornaday said crew chief Jeff Hensley told him to conserve fuel prior to the last restart.
“Under the yellow, I didn’t get a chance to clean my tires and (Peters) got a pretty good jump on me,” Hornaday said. “I drove it down to (turn) one and the front tire had a lot of rubber built up on it and I couldn’t make it turn.”
The win put some distance between Peters and the pack in the championship race. He now holds a 12-point edge over second-place Justin Lofton.
Ty Dillon, who entered the night four points behind in a tie for second, is 14 back after salvaging a seventh-place finish.
Dillon, the only driver to register a top-10 finish in each of the first eight races on the circuit this season, pitted under caution five laps into the race to make a chassis adjustment after he said his truck was “out of control loose.” He dropped back to 32nd at one point.
“I thought we were going to lose that (top 10) streak tonight,” Dillon said. “It was just a hard night and a long weekend for us. We just missed it from the time we unloaded. We kept battling. … It’s a relief getting out of here with the weekend we had with another top 10 and a better points day than we should’ve had.”
Meanwhile, the circuit’s only multi-time winner this season dealt with another mishap after battling Peters for the lead throughout the first 136 laps.
James Buescher led a race-best 91 laps and was out front of the pack with 64 remaining when his right front tire went down and his truck took a hard right turn into the fence on turn two. It was the fourth time this season Buescher was running near the front and ran into hard luck.
Buescher finished 30th and fell 26 points behind Peters.
“You hate to see that because he definitely had a really good truck,” Peters said. “Those guys have really been on their game. ... It’s racing, it’s a tough break. It could be us, but we hope not. (But) we’ll take it.”