Peters beats Bodine in thrilling Daytona finish
Timothy Peters passed race leader Todd Bodine on the final lap to notch his second career victory and deny Bodine a third straight season-opening victory in a wild opening event for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
Running second behind Bodine coming down the backstretch, Peters pulled to the high side of Bodine, got a push from Jason White and then dived under Bodine as the 2006 series champion moved high to try and block the pass.
Bodine stayed in the gas and chased Peters door to door as the came through the frontstretch and nudged Peters at the line, but Peters hung on to claim the victory as Bodine spun through the infield grass just past the start/finish line.
Dennis Setzer was third, followed by White and Matt Crafton.
“Words can’t describe what I’m feeling right now and to start off the season like this, man it’s very emotional,” said Peters. “I guess it's everybody's dream to win at Daytona. It just feels different. But I'm glad because it doesn't get any better than winning. I could get used to this.
“I can't believe it -- I'm going to Disney World!”
Bodine led four times for 32 laps after starting second in the event, which was postponed from Friday night due to rain.
Coming into the race with five straight top-five finishes including wins in the last two season-openers, Bodine’s night looked over at the half-way point after a flat tire forced him to pit under green.
Bodine recover though and started coming on strong until the last half of the race, leading 17 of the final 18 laps and coming within half-a-lap of his third consecutive Daytona victory.
“You’re sitting duck (when) leading,” said Bodine. “Timmy (Peters) just did it right. He went the outside I had to block and he came back under. It was a great crossover move. He did exactly what he was supposed to do.
“Dodging a lot of bullets. It was a race of survival. Had a fast truck again. We're disappointed, there's no doubt about it. But it was a great points race. Second is nothing to sneeze at.”
Much like the earlier NASCAR Nationwide Series event, the truck series race was marred by several multi-truck wrecks that eliminated several of the top competitors, including Kyle Busch and defending series champion Ron Hornaday.
The “big one” reared it’s ugly head early in the event when contact between Austin Dillon and Aric Almirola trigged a nine-truck incident on lap two, collecting Busch, Johnny Sauter, Jennifer Jo Cobb and Ted Musgrave among others.
“I really don't know what was happening," said Dillon. “I was sucking up to Jason White, and someone got under me. Just looked like they weren't being very patient there to start. Just caught in the middle and got banged around there a few times and tried to save it -- just nothing I could do there.”
The second crash occurred on lap 33, when an ill-timed bump from teammate Ricky Carmichael sent Hornaday into the wall, touching off a crash that swept up ten trucks, including Rick Crawford, Elliott Sadler and – for the second time – Musgrave.
Peters himself was involved in an incident on lap 63 after tangling with Mike Skinner, ending the night for the 1995 series champion.
In all, the caution flag waved seven times for 33 laps – nearly a quarter of the race.
Following the final round of pit stops with 23 laps to go, Bodine shot to the lead past teammate Max Papis. After briefly losing the top spot to Setzer, Bodine stormed back just before Papis crashed to bring out the final caution flag on lap 85.
Under green with 15 laps to go, Bodine hugged the low line as the field lined up single-file behind him until White and Peters jumped to the high side on the final lap.
“Todd (Bodine) was just running his line and the 23 (Jason White) came up and gave us a good push,” said Peters. “I was going to go with him and the 30 moved up and we all just bumped and got him (Todd Bodine) a little out of shape but it’s the last lap at Daytona.”
“I don't think there's anything I could have done differently,” said Bodine. “I had to block him up high. Unfortunately he got my right rear quarter panel, and that turned me up into the wall. If he didn't get in the quarter panel, you're only talking a couple inches, I would have turned back down the track, and stayed right in front of him, beat him to the line.
Nelson Piquet, Jr., the son of three-time Formula 1 champion Nelson Piquet, finished sixth in his NASCAR debut, the highest finish for a Brazilian driver in the NCWTS series. Stacy Compton, Johnny Benson, Donnie Neuenberger and J.J, Yeley rounded out the top ten.
TIMOTHY PETERS, No. 17 K&N Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing
How excited are you to win at Daytona? “First of all I’ve got to thank the fans for coming out here and supporting us tonight in this cold weather. Man, this Toyota Tundra drove like a Lexus tonight. I can’t believe it. Words can’t describe what I’m feeling right now and to start off the season like this, man it’s very emotional. I guess it's everybody's dream to win at Daytona. It just feels different. But I'm glad because it doesn't get any better than winning. I could get used to this. Jeff Hensley (crew chief) and all the crew on the 17, Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra did an awesome job all week long in preparing this truck over the winter. In the draft, we were awesome. In practice on Wednesday and Thursday morning, we gave up a little bit by ourself knowing we could draft really well.”
What happened in the last lap of the race? “Todd (Bodine) was just running his line and the 23 (Jason White) came up and gave us a good push and I was going to go with him and the 30 moved up and we all just bumped and got him (Todd Bodine) a little out of shape but it’s the last lap at Daytona. I’m glad to be in victory lane. I said in an interview, ‘I’m going to Disneyworld.’ So I’m going to go back.”
What gave you the confidence to make the move on Todd Bodine in the final lap? “This is only my fourth plate race -- superspeedway race. I'm still learning. It doesn't matter if we were at Daytona, Atlanta, Martinsville. To race with these guys is just an awesome feeling. Call a spade a spade, Todd Bodine is the best Speedway racer. His results prove it. I wasn't gonna leave him until it was time to. My spotter, Kevin Ray, did an awesome job, keeping me calm, keeping me in line, telling me, ‘Let's try to make the move down the pack straightaway.’ The 23 had an awesome run. When Todd went high, I went high, and we prevailed to the inside. It's very cool. I'm not giving him all the credit, but it is cool to beat those guys, too. But Todd and I are pretty good buddies, too. It's pretty cool to beat him at the same time.”
TODD BODINE, No. 30 GEICO Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing
What was the difference at the end of the race? “No difference, you’re sitting duck leading. I saw the replay as I sat down there in the mud. Timmy (Peters) just did it right. He went the outside I had to block and he came back under. It was a great crossover move. He did exactly what he was supposed to do. The truck was fast. It was a race of survival tonight. We got that flat tire – we got fortunate to get right on pit road, didn’t lose a lap. He got in the back of me and got me up. I was going to come back down but he did what he had to do. He’s a great race car driver. He’s a good kid. If I had to lose he’s a good one to lose to. The GEICO Tundra was fast -- fast like it always is. It drives great, runs fast. It’s disappointing for sure, but it’s a great way to start the year with a second. It’s a good points race. I know a lot of the other points guys had problems so it was a good night.”
What did you think of the move that Timothy Peters made on the last lap? “Timmy did exactly what he was supposed to do. He tried me high and got a run going. He did a crossover and when he crossed over he got into the corner panel which turned me up the race track. I was lucky not to get in the wall. I did get in the wall a little bit. It was just a good race. That’s what Daytona is about and fortunately we didn’t wreck. It was a race of survival and we didn’t wreck and the GEICO Tundra came home second. It’s a great points race. Like I said before, if there’s anybody that I want to get beat by it’s Timmy (Peters). He’s a great kid, he’s a hell of a race car driver and we’ll take the second and go on
How did you save the truck during the final lap? “I’ve had some practice at that. It was really close. If he had been up another three or four inches and turned me a little bit harder then I would’ve been in the outside wall. We saved it. We got lucky with the flat tire that went flat in three and four and I got right to pit road so we didn’t lose a lap. It was a good night. It was a great points race and that’s how we’ve got to look at it. Unfortunately we didn’t get the checker.”
How long does it take you to put the frustration of not winning behind you and build on it? “We’ll, to get over it. We’re gonna be leaving the track in the motorcoach in a couple hours. I say by Jacksonville, I’ll be over it. It’s disappointing. No doubt about it. To go for three in a row at Daytona, that would have been a dream come true, but it’s racing. It’s hard racing. A kid like Timothy (Peters), he’s got such a future in our sport. He’s one of those kids that, with the right break, would be sitting over in a Cup garage right now. He’s that good, that good a kid. That’s how much I respect him. To get beat by him, that takes a little of the edge off. But it’s tough. It’s hard because all these guys started this race, all these guys on pit road worked hard to get their trucks ready to get out there and do their jobs. My team’s no different. We have a great truck. It’s always run fast. Came up one spot short.”
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