| Current championship standings
Timothy Peters took his first victory of the year in a dramatic overtime climax to the Fred's 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday afternoon, which saw him hold off a determined Ryan Blaney who was in turn swamped by a late surge of runners around the outside.
It's Peters' eighth win in the series in 180 starts, and it came after a two-lap green-white-chequered after nearly two hours of racing at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. The Red Horse Racing driver had led for 31 laps, tying for most laps led with Blaney who ended up losing three places in the final lap, eventually crossing the line in fifth place.
After winning pole position in qualifying on Friday afternoon it had been Brad Keselowski Racing's Tyler Reddick who had led the field to the green flag, but he had been immediately ousted from the front by Turner Scott Motorsport's Tayler Malsam. The field stayed mainly on two-wide with both Malsam and Reddick sticking to the low line, and that gave Reddick's team mate Blaney a chance to make a move around the outside and claim the lead on lap 6.
Blaney and Malsam were still side-by-side and neck-and-neck on lap 12 when the first multi-truck wreck of the night broke out on the backstretch, with Mason Mingus' #15 Billy Boat Motorports Chevy hitting the wall and catching German Quiroga, Ron Hornaday Jr., Ryan Sieg and Chris Fontaine up in the aftermath. The damage to Hornaday's truck - which had been looking very racy up to that point - was particularly bad, and listed as 'critical' by the NTS Motorsports team.
During an early round of pit stops under the caution, Reddick and Daniel Suarez (making his first series start in the #35 Win-Tron Racing Toyota) were both sent to the back for speeding on pit lane where they were joined by championship leader Matt Crafton, who had collided with Bryan Silas as he exited his pit stall and needed to come back to have the truck checked over. That potentially signalled a huge swing in the title fight between Crafton and his ThorSports team mate Johnny Sauter, but just minutes after the race resumed on lap 19 there was trouble as the #98 lost power and only just managed to cruise back onto pit road without causing a new caution, after running over a bolt on the track which then punctured the radiator and consequently lead to the engine blowing.
At the front, Blaney had kept the lead after the restart and was running comfortably ahead of Darrell Wallace Jr. in the #54 Kyle Busch Motorsport truck, Wallace having made short work of recovering from his 27th place on the grid after the worst qualifying showing of his Truck Series career to date. The pair were followed on the track by Timothy Peters, John Wes Townley and Taylor Malsam, but a round of green flag pit stops shook things up when Blaney became the latest recipient of a drive-thru penalty for speeding and Malsam took the opportunity to go to the front on lap 51 ahead of Wallace, with Peters holding on to third spot ahead of Ben Kennedy and Chris Fontaine.
With Blaney having dropped away from the main pack and no longer able to benefit from the draft, the leaders soon put Blaney a lap down on lap 56 just after Crafton received his second penalty of the afternoon and been black flagged along with Joe Nemechek after the pair were deemed to have locked bumpers and illegally push-drafted for increased aerodynamic advantage, which the ThorSport team blamed on Nemechek getting overzealous. Fortunately for all concerned a second caution of the day for Milka Duno stalling at the entrance to pit road on lap 58 brought the field back together again, and it also helped Blaney who was handed the free pass back on to the lead lap again for the restart on lap 63 following a mass round of pit stops, everyone now just in range of making the finish of the 94-lap race.
Peters had won the race off pit road to lead from Brennan Newberry, Wallace, Kennedy, Malsam, Jones, Tyler Young, Jeb Burton, Townley and Nemechek with Crafton having fallen back to 16th place just behind Blaney, but there was a rapid return to yellow for Kennedy hitting the wall hard on the frontstretch after he moved up the track and received a tap from Nemechek who had himself received a bump from Chris Fontaine.
This time most drivers stayed away from the temptations of pit road, and Peters was once again in charge for the restart on lap 71 with 23 laps still to run with Townley tucking into second spot in a predominantly single-file early run before the outside line started to crank into life again which enabled Townley to jump out and narrowly take the lead just in time for a debris caution on lap 80. The restart lasted barely a lap before a collision between Bryan Silas and Brennan Newberry saw both cars slide toward the apron on the backstretch, and when the race finally got back underway on lap 89 it was Peters who sprang to the front of a confused restart which saw Townley left high and dry with no drafting support which bundled him back down the running order to 13th before a new caution came out for Norm Benning spinning in turn 2.
That put Peters, Blaney, Malsam, Jones and Wallace at the front for the first attempt of the day at green-white-chequered finish. The extra distance was too much for Townley and Suarez both of whom had to pit, and for Clay Greenfield who ran out of gas but fortunately didn't provoke a new caution before the white flag was shown to the leaders with Peters and Blaney next-and-neck at the line. Peters finally managed to get control over the proceedings, and next time by as the chequered flag flew it was the #17 Red Horse Racing Truck that clinched the win while Blaney fell to fifth place behind Malsam, Spencer Gallagher and Tyler Reddick who were able to pounce on the final lap.
"It just felt really good to go to Victory Lane," said Peters, who has never won at Talladega before. "We were making our Toyota Tundra as wide as we could, and so it feels really good to come across the start/finish line.
"Chris Lambert, who spots for me, did a great job from the time the green flag fell till the chequered flag waved," he added. "It was system overload, telling me everything, how far apart they were in front of me, how close the guy behind me was, what run was coming on the outside coming to the chequered flag."
For his part, Blaney admitted that he had been caught out by the late formation of a third line to his right hand side that managed to push around him in the closing seconds. "I thought we were in the perfect spot, leading the outside line into Turn 2," he said.
In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings, Crafton's slightly disappointing 13th place finish means that Blaney moves to within 16 points with four races remaining in the season. Wallace moves into third position, while Sauter's early exit at Talladega means that he drops from second to fourth place just ahead of this week's race winner Timothy Peters.
"The championship's over," rued Sauter afterwards. "From here on out, we can just race like hell."
| Current championship standings