This week, SPEED.com counts down the five best NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races of 2010. No. 4 is the season-opener at Daytona, when Timothy Peters made a last-lap pass of Todd Bodine to win.
When it comes down to the final lap at Daytona International Speedway, history means nothing, while heart, horsepower and cunning are everything, as Timothy Peters proved in the season-opening NextEra Energy 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
Todd Bodine came into the race as the prohibitive favorite, and with good reason: He was the two-time defending race winner and in five Truck Series starts at Daytona had never finished worse than fifth.
By comparison, Peters, driver of the No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota, had two good-but-not-great Daytona truck finishes, a 12th in 2006 and a sixth-place run in 2009. But none of that mattered on the night of Feb. 13, 2010.
Heading to the white flag at the fabled 2.5-mile superspeedway, Bodine’s No. 30 Geico.com Toyota held the lead over Peters and Jason White. As they headed down the backstretch on the last lap, third-place White went to the outside lane and when he did, Peters went with him and Bodine moved up to block the two onrushing trucks.
But when Bodine went high, he lightly brushed the wall, which opened the door for Peters to go under him heading into Turn 3 and take a slight lead. As the trucks exited Turn 4, Bodine came down from the outside line and made just enough contact with Peters to break his own momentum.
That allowed Peters, whose only prior NCWTS victory was on the 0.526-mile Martinsville, Va., short track, to cross the start-finish line 0.068 seconds ahead of Bodine, who spun into the infield after taking the checkered flag. Dennis Setzer, White and Matt Crafton rounded out the top five.
“I can't believe it — this thing drove like a Lexus tonight,” Peters said of his race-winning No. 17 Toyota. “We just won Daytona! I was just content where I was at, but the 23 (White) came up and gave me a great run. I can't believe it — I'm going to Disney World!”
“You're a sitting duck leading,” Bodine said ruefully. “I saw the replay when I was sitting down there in the mud (after spinning). Timmy did what he had to do. We're disappointed. There's no doubt about it. But second's nothing to sneeze at.”
On the race’s opening lap, Austin Dillon, making his first superspeedway start, broke loose between trucks and ignited a nine-truck collision that damaged the trucks of Kyle Busch and Landon Cassill, among others.
“I really don't know what was happening,” Dillon said. “I was sucking up to Jason White, and someone got under me. Just looked like they weren't being very patient there to start. Just caught in the middle and got banged around there a few times and tried to save it —just nothing I could do there.”
Four-time and defending Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. was the victim of a 10-truck wreck after a bump from Ricky Carmichael turned him into the outside wall at the end of the backstretch on Lap 32. The same wreck claimed front-row starter Elliott Sadler.
But the night belonged to Peters, who was competing in just his fourth superspeedway race.
“Todd Bodine is the best speedway racer,” said Peters. “His results prove it. I wasn't gonna leave him until it was time to. My spotter, Kevin Ray, did an awesome job, keeping me calm, keeping me in line, telling me, ‘Let's try to make the move down the pack straightaway.’ The 23 (White) had an awesome run. When Todd went high, I went high, and we prevailed to the inside. It's very cool. I'm not giving him all the credit, but it is cool to beat those guys, too. But Todd and I are pretty good buddies, too. It's pretty cool to beat him at the same time.”
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.