E.A. Sports Today

Peters’ streak continues

Truck racer wins Fred’s 250 at Talladega, visits Victory Lane for sixth year in a row

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

TALLADEGA – Timothy Peters looked at the schedule and knew he was running out of time. If he was going to continue his streak of winning at least one Camping World Truck Series race each of the last six seasons he was going to have to get on the stick shift.

There were only five races left in the season, but the Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway was one of them and the success he enjoyed at Daytona earlier gave him hope his streak could continue here.

Peters had the gas and the guile to stay in front at the end of a green-white-checkered finish and beat Tayler Malsam to the finish for his eighth career win and first at Talladega.

“I started off the year strong right out of the box and then through the summer stretch it seemed like we couldn’t do nothing right,” he said. “If it wasn’t for bad luck, we wouldn’t have any luck at all.

“It did cross my mind that the races were winding down and I actually told Tom (DeLoach, team owner) in Victory Lane the races were winding down and I was getting a little concerned. When you come here it’s always a crap shoot. Did I think coming in we had a shot to win; yes. But is that clouded by what could happen here; absolutely.

“You never know what’s going to happen here. You never know when the next win is coming from the last one. That’s why every moment you can get to Victory Lane you cherish that. Our year hasn’t gone as well as we’d have liked, but the old saying is a win fixes everything. Hopefully, the monkey is off our back.”

Peters, 34, won with an average speed of 132.632 mph and by a margin of 0.143 seconds. Spencer Gallagher was third, followed by rookie pole-winner Tyler Reddick and Ryan Blaney. Series points leader Matt Crafton finished 14th, but lost only three points off his lead to new No. 2 Blaney.

Peters started from 26th position, but was among the top five inside of 10 laps and stayed there the rest of the race. He was the sixth winner to start from outside the top 10 in the last nine superspeedway truck races. He was second earlier this year at Daytona, missing a superspeedway sweep by 17-hundreths of a second.

“We started off today not wanting to start where we did, but we knew we had Old Faithful from Daytona and knew it could push or pull really well in the draft,” Peters said. “I talked with Darrell (Wallace, his Toyota teammate) before the race and a little bit last night and he was back there with me and we worked great together all day long.

“It’s just a dream come true to be able to say we played a Hat Dance at Daytona and now Talladega.”

The field formed up for the restart – and the first green-white-checkered truck finish at Talladega since 2010 — after Norm Benning brought out the sixth caution of the race when he spun coming out of the corner with four laps to go. Benning had just been the beneficiary of a caution six laps earlier.

Peters got a heads up from his spotter to keep an eye on Malsam for a push. It was such a good push Malsam never could catch the winning Toyota even though he made late attempt on the outside. Blaney led briefly in the next-to-last lap before Peters overtook him and pulled away.

The crew was worried about Peters having enough fuel for the finish, but the caution laps helped him conserve. Peters went down on the apron right before the restart to ensure he had enough fuel pickup for the finish and although they cut it close they had enough to spare.

Reddick overcame two pit road speeding penalties with the help of the late cautions to finish fourth, tying his best finish of the season. He was running outside the top 15 when he hooked up with Gallagher and both finished in the top five.

For Gallagher, who started 21st, hooking up with Reddick made all the difference for him.

“The plate racing gods were smiling upon me in the form of this little guy right here,” Gallagher said, pointing to Reddick. “We found each other on the last restart and it was like Noah parting the seas, man. These holes on the top just kept opening and opening. I kept filling them; he stayed behind me.

“It’s like I told them out there on pit road. I’m pretty sure we were going to make the highlight reel one way or another coming down the front stretch, but I was happy to finish where we were.”

Noah parting the seas? Did Moses build the ark? When the biblical faux pas was brought to his attention, Gallagher tried to back up but feel deeper into the Old Testament abyss. When reminded of Noah’s contribution, the excitable 24-year-old then placed him in the belly of the whale. Uh, that was Jonah, right? Well, at least it was entertaining.

Al Muskewitz is Content Editor/Senior Writer of East Alabama Sports Today. To comment on this story or suggest story ideas, he can be reached at musky@wrightmediacorp.com and followed on Twitter at Al Muskewitz@easportstoday1.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login