Timothy Peters was able to make his way toward the front two different times in the second half of Friday’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Both of those times he took the lead from Kyle Busch. But in the end, Busch moved to the outside of Peters to get the nose of his truck out front as the race field had the checkered flag in sight to claim his first Truck Series win at Daytona by a margin of 0.017 seconds ahead of Peters.
“I didn’t think I was going to be able to make that move,” Busch said in victory lane.
Peters was forced to settle for second, while last year’s race winner, Johnny Sauter, finished third.
“If you can’t win it, you want to finish it, and that’s a solid start to our season,” Sauter said.
After qualifying was cancelled and the green flag postponed for about an hour by rain, Ben Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., started on the pole and led the entire first half of the 100-lap race. Kennedy lost the lead in the pits during a lap-51 caution when he had a hard time getting off pit road. Because of his trouble, he restarted 10th, while Busch assumed the lead.
Busch led the way with Ron Hornaday behind in second, until Peters’ first outside move toward the front. Peters was able to get up beside Busch with about 43 laps to go and then move out front and to the bottom of the race track with 37 laps remaining.
Peters relinquished the lead back to Busch and restarted several positions back after opting to get a full tank of fuel while others opted to stop just long enough for a splash of fuel during a caution for a multi-truck wreck on lap 74.
The wreck began when Parker Kligerman, Ross Chastain and Mason Mingus wrecked, also collecting the trucks of John King, John Wes Townley and Darrell Wallace Jr., among others.
When the race returned to green with Busch, Ryan Truex and Sauter occupying the top-three spots, Peters set out on another mission toward the front. He succeeded in that mission with five laps remaining, again getting up beside Busch. A lap later he gained control of the lead.
“I think we were the only truck that could make the outside work tonight,” Peters said.
With Peters down on the bottom in front of Busch, Truex took over command of the outside line, but, unlike Peters, was unable to use that line to propel himself to the front. Peters remained in the top spot until Busch made his own move on the outside just before the start/finish line and the checkered flag.
“Kyle caught the right push at the right time from Johnny,” Peters said.
Truex finished fourth, and Hornaday, who ran second to Kennedy and then to Busch for much of the race, wound up fifth. Ryan Blaney was sixth, Jeb Burton finished seventh, and Joe Nemechek eighth. Jimmy Weller spun across the start/finish line to take ninth, and German Quiroga finished 10th.
But first, check out this photo gallery of Truck Series action at Daytona (photos courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR):