[ by Michael T. Myers - Queers4Gears ]
A late race caution changed everything in the desert.
Timothy Peters grabbed the first win at a mile-and-a-half track for his Red Horse Racing Team at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was the 7th career victory for Peters.
It looked like it was Ron Hornaday’s night. The 55 year old veteran was leading when, with 6 laps to go, Jennifer Jo Cobb blew a right front tire sending her #10 truck hard into the wall bringing out the caution.
By the time the debris was cleaned up the re-started with 2 laps to go. Hornaday spun his tires on the final restart, dropping like a rock while Peters was able to make the bottom groove work and shot to the lead. Hornaday, who last won at LV Motor Speedway in 2011 ended up finishing 6th.
After the race Peters was surprised that Hornaday spun his tires on the restart. “It ain’t too many times you catch the restart king sleeping and we caught him sleeping.” NASCAR recently revised the restart rules now allowing the P2 driver to beat the leader to the line if the leader were to spin their tires or miss a shift. Peters was thankful for this new rule being in place, saying, “Thank goodness for that rule change. Tonight it played into our favor.”
For Matt Crafton, leaving Las Vegas can’t happen quickly enough. His season long streak of top-10 finishes ended but he was able to keep his points lead. He led 30 laps, more than any other driver and had the chance to put the Championship out-of-reach for others – but the 88 car fell apart in longer runs. He has led in Vegas often but never been able to grab the win – tonight was no different with Crafton finishing 11th.
Pole sitter Ty Dillon was fast in practice but was not able to make his high line strategy work. The Bass Pro Shops car worked hard to dial in the #3 Truck and Dillon managed to finish P-4. The strong finish keeps Dillon third in the Championship standings.
The only high drama in Vegas played out on pit road. Ross Chastain was leading and during a cycle of green flag pit stops he was blocked in his pit box by James Buescher. The two teams exchanged heated words behind pit wall and the tension continued after the race. No fists were thrown but Chastain and his team clearly felt robbed by last year’s Truck Series Champion.
Rookie Darrell Wallace Jr finished 5th and led 23 laps at Vegas but was still frustrated. “ We had a really good Toyota Tundra…. We just couldn’t finish the deal out. We had a truck capable of winning – I told the guys is we were out front the we could have lapped the whole field. I know I’m a rookie, but it just so hard to figure out where to put my truck in dirty air and work in the clean air.” The rookie added, “Clean air is your friend and dirty air is your worst enemy.”
There were 9 cautions during the race and 6 of those came out due to solo car spins in Turn 4. Second place finisher Johnny Sauter said his car was loose the entire race in turns three and four, adding “I was sideways in four.” Two drivers alone were responsible for four of the six turn-4 cautions: Bryan Silas and Brennan Newberry each brought out two cautions apiece.