Timothy Peters and the Valvoline/Express Oil Change team came within 0.016 seconds of victory in the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway, finishing second in the narrowest margin in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history at the 2.5-mile facility. Inclement weather throughout the afternoon forced the cancellation of qualifying and the introduction of the new time trials format. The field was instead set by practice speeds, which placed the No. 17 Valvoline/Express Oil Change Toyota Tundra in the 18th position for the green flag. In the opening laps, Peters reported to new crew chief and high school best friend Marcus Richmond that the red and white machine was free and in need of rear stability. A competition caution on lap 20 gave the No. 17 team the opportunity to work on the Tundra's handling, providing Peters a full tank of fuel, and track bar and rear shock adjustments. Armed with a neutral-handling truck, the veteran driver drove to the front and first took the lead on lap 58. He returned to the lead on lap 63 and remained there until the "Big One" occurred. Richmond called his driver to pit road for Sunoco fuel and sacrificed the point position. Restarting inside the top 10, Peters powered forward and took the lead once again with five laps remaining in the 100-lap event. He battled side-by-side down the front stretch on the final lap and was narrowly edged out at the checkered flag, finishing second to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Kyle Busch in the Camping World Truck Series season opener. Peters leads the driver championship point standings by two points as the series takes a five-week hiatus before returning to action at Martinsville Speedway on March 29.
Timothy Peters Quotes:
"What a great effort by this whole Valvoline/Express Oil Change Toyota Tundra team. All of these guys are just amazing. My old buddy Marcus Richmond (crew chief) is back with me and this is a great way to start off the season. You never want to be the bridesmaid when you have been to Victory Lane here before, but second-place at Daytona International Speedway isn't too bad. The last time we did this (in 2012) we stayed in the thick of the battle for the championship all year. Hopefully we'll do that again."
"What made this truck so fast in the outside line was honestly Toyota, Red Horse Racing, the guys back at the fab shop, and Marcus Richmond (crew chief). It is a group effort. We come down here and I'm just a small percentage of the deal. Running up front and the exciting finish is a testament to those guys for building me an awesome Toyota Tundra -- a good looking Toyota Tundra on top of that. I truly think this is our year. After all, it is the year of the horse."