The #17 Strutmasters.com Toyota Tundra looked to be a contender in the AAA Insurance 200 but contact with another truck on pit road resulted in substantial damage to the #17 machine.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN. (July 24, 2009)- Timothy Peters loves short track racing under the lights and couldn't wait to battle it out on the turns of O'Reilly Raceway Park. He put the #17 Strutmasters.com Tundra in the sixth starting spot and looked to be a contender for the win early on in the race. At the halfway point, Peters was making a pit stop and while he was trying to leave his pit box, another competitor slammed into his right side door. The heavy contact damaged the right front fender and knocked the toe out of the truck. Even after the team tried to fix it, the #17 machine was never the same again. Peters and his Red Horse Racing team had to settle for a 17th place finish in the AAA Insurance 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park.
After working on the Strutmasters.com Toyota Tundra in two practice sessions on Friday morning, the #17 team felt like they had a strong truck for the evening's race. Peters put his Tundra in the sixth starting spot for the 200-lap short track shoot out.
When the green flag dropped, Peters was headed to the front. He had so much momentum from the first lap; he was able to pass for the fourth position on lap two. Peters radioed the crew that his truck needed to turn better in the center of the corners at both ends of the race track. The caution flag flew for the first time on lap 37 and crew chief Chad Kendrick called his driver to pit road. Peters took four fresh tires on lap 39 and returned the following lap for fuel, shock, and track bar adjustments. Several trucks did not pit so Peters restarted 16th.
It didn't take the #17 machine long to get back in the hunt. Peters took over the 11th position just 25 laps later. Still needing to turn better in the corners, Peters was moving back and forth between the 11th and 15th positions. A caution on lap 92 gave Kendrick another opportunity to work on the truck. Under caution Peters told his crew that the truck seemed to have become really tight. He brought the #17 to pit road on lap 95 for two right side tires and came back in the following lap for fuel and a track bar adjustment. Just as Peters was pulling out of his pit box, he collided with another truck that was trying to pull into his pit box two stalls ahead. The #17 suffered right side fender damage and Peters reported that his steering wheel was turned 25 degrees. Kendrick diagnosed that the toe of the truck must have been knocked during the impact. Peters was sitting in the fifth spot for the restart and didn't want to give up his track position but knew the toe of his truck was off. The team talked it over and decided to leave Peters on the race track and keep his track position. He restarted fifth.
When the green flagged waved, Peters could tell his truck wasn't quite right. He began slipping back in the field and eventually fell to the 18th position by lap 124. Reporting that his truck was really loose off of turn four, Peters lost a lap when he was passed by the leader. The caution came out on lap 160 and Kendrick called his driver to pit road. The first time in, Peters took two left side tires. He came back for fuel and track bar and wedge adjustments the following lap. He returned to pit road a third time to give the crew enough time to reset the toe on the truck. This proved to be a difficult task since the contact with the right front tire in the pit road accident bent the lower control arm mount, making the toe nearly impossible to fix during the race. Peters restarted 19th.
Shortly after the restart, the caution came back out and Peters received the "Lucky Dog" award, putting him back on the lead lap. He returned to pit road one final time for additional adjustments and fuel. Peters restarted 18th with 20 laps to go in the race. Fighting with the tight condition of his truck and stuck back in traffic, Peters was unable to make much progress. He had reached the 17th position when the checkered flag flew. Peters and the #17 Strutmasters.com team earned a 17th place finish at O'Reilly Raceway Park.