The #17 Strutmasters.com Toyota Tundra team earned their first top-five finish of the season and the third top-10 finish in the last four events.
SPARTA, KY. (July 18, 2009)- Timothy Peters was really looking forward to the race at Kentucky Speedway because he had a proven machine under him. The team would compete with the same truck they raced a Michigan a few weeks earlier and felt like they would be a contender for the win on Saturday night. It turns out, they were right. The #17 Strutmasters.com Toyota Tundra started the race from the ninth spot and ran inside the top-five for much of the 150-lap event. Peters ran consistent lap times and exercised patience to bring home a fourth place finish. It marks his best finish of the season and his career best Camping World Truck Series finish in five seasons of competition.
The #17 Stutmasters.com Tundra was fast in both practice sessions on Friday afternoon. Peters backed that up in qualifying on Saturday by putting the #17 in the ninth starting spot for the evening's race.
When the green flag dropped, it seemed Peters was shot out of a cannon. In just one lap he gained two spots and by the end of lap two had reached the fifth position. He didn't stop there. On lap three, Peters picked up the fourth spot and by lap five of the 150-lap race; he had claimed the third position. Peters radioed the crew that his Tundra was just a little tight on the entry to the corners. He was able to hold onto the third position for 13 laps until the tight condition worsened and he slipped back one position to fourth place.
The caution flag flew for the first time on lap 33 and Peters told his crew that his Red Horse Racing machine was too tight getting into turn one but he only needed a small adjustment. Crew chief Chad Kendrick called his driver to pit road on lap 35 for four fresh tires and then back the following lap for fuel and a track bar adjustment to ease the tight condition. Peters restarted fifth.
The adjustment helped Peters and he climbed back up to the fourth position. The #17 Strutmasters.com Tundra was running so well that Peters was able to make a three wide pass to take over the second position on lap 47. The caution came out again on lap 53 and Peters opted to stay out, telling the crew that his truck had the right balance and was feeling really good. He restarted second but got shuffled back to fourth during the first green flag lap. Peters told the crew not to worry; he said his Tundra was starting to come alive.
Nearing the end of their fuel window, Kendrick told Peters he would need to pit under green on lap 100. Peters was careful to maintain pit road speed and stopped briefly in his pit box for a splash of gas and no adjustments. He merged back on track in the 10th position but by the time all the competitors made their green flag pit stops, Peters had climbed to the sixth spot.
The caution flag flew on lap 110 giving teams that pitted for fuel under green a chance to change tires and make the final stop of the day. Peters hit pit road again on lap 113, taking four fresh tires. The balance of the truck was so good that he called for no adjustments. Peters restarted fourth.
With fresh tires under him, Peters was being patient and waiting for the tire pressures to come up before making any moves. Another caution came out on lap 122 and set the field up for a restart with 24 laps to go. As the leaders headed off into turn one, Peters got pushed to the bottom of the track and stuck behind another competitor. With no where to go, he got shuffled back to the eighth position in just one lap. Peters hoped that the final 20 laps would go green and give him the chance to get those positions back but it seemed the caution flag flew every five laps. Peters benefited from three of the cautions when trucks in front of him had trouble. He gained four spots before the end of the race and crossed the start finish line in the fourth position. That finish marks his third top-10 in the last four races and his career best Camping World Truck Series finish in five years of racing in the series.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Indianapolis, Indiana this weekend. The AAA Insurance 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park is scheduled for Friday evening, July 24th