The Frontstretch: Tracking the Trucks: American Ethanol 200 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Monday July 15, 2013

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Tracking the Trucks: American Ethanol 200

Beth Lunkenheimer · Monday July 15, 2013

 

In a Nutshell: Timothy Peters took the checkered flag 0.225 seconds ahead of 17-year-old Erik Jones to grab his second Iowa Speedway victory in Saturday night’s American Ethanol 200. Peters narrowly held off a hard-charging Jones, who might have caught him with another lap or two, to score his second consecutive win in the July race at Iowa. James Buescher, Ron Hornaday, Jr. and Chase Elliott rounded out the top 5.

Who Should Have Won: Timothy Peters. While both German Quiroga and Ty Dillon showed their strength in the earlier parts of the race, both drivers struggled with on-track contact that ultimately took them out of contention for the win. With those two aside, it was the two-tire strategy call and some hard racing on the restarts that allowed Peters to hang on for his first win of the 2013 season.

Race Rundown

Did you miss the race? In this section of Tracking the Trucks, you’ll find the major storylines that went on all in one place.

Dillon, Jones Tangle

Following a career-best runner-up finish, Erik Jones found himself face to face with an upset Ty Dillon. In the closing laps, the two were racing hard for position behind eventual winner Timothy Peters when Dillon made a move to the outside that ultimately ended with him bouncing off of the wall multiple times, ending his hopes of a third consecutive solid finish. As a result, the driver of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevrolet dropped to a 16th-place finish. Jones was honest and almost sounded confused as to why Dillon was so upset.

“It was just kind of a racing deal,” Jones said. “We tried to go to the outside and when you get up on a truck like Ty did … it’s going to take the air off his nose and it’s going to get tight. He might have thought I ran him up into the wall, but everyone I’ve talked to said the opposite. “He got up there just trying to make something happen with a few laps to go and got tight, and got into the wall. I feel like we did what we were supposed to do and didn’t do anything wrong there.”

Though he appeared to have calmed down, Dillon clearly saw the incident differently.

“I just told him, ‘Man, next time you race don’t use your mirrors so much,’” Dillon said of his meeting with Jones on pit road. “He was starting at bottom of the race track and running at the bottom, then shooting up to the top. The first time it happened, we about wrecked in the frontstretch and then he did it again. He’ll learn, it’s his first couple of races, but I just had to make a point because if he does it again, it’s not going to be good.”

Simply put, Dillon was right to be upset. After all, he’d just been racing for the win before bouncing off the wall in the closing laps. But with that being said, Jones was in the same situation, running for a victory in the late stages of the race. It really was just as Jones called it: a racing incident. It’s happened before and will happen again, but in the end, it’s a product of good, hard competition that allows the series to remain as entertaining as it has been for many years.

Armstrong, Turn One Making Progress

After losing the Red Bull sponsorship for promising young rookie Cole Whitt at the end of the 2011 season, Turn One Racing resorted to start-and-parking just to make a little money and remain in the series. Enter Dakoda Armstrong and WinField that provided the financial backing to allow a full season, and once again Turn One hopes to rekindle some of the success they found with Whitt two years ago. On Saturday night, Armstrong scored his second top-10 result of the year; his first came at Martinsville in early April.

“This weekend was really a case of never giving up and tonight was a big comeback for us,” Armstrong explained. “The guys on our Turn One Racing team made a ton of changes in practice and we really turned our WinField Silverado around. Thankfully, the ‘lucky dog’ helped us get in position to capitalize at the end of the night when some others had issues. It feels good to get a top 10 after the weekend we had, and hopefully, we can carry some momentum into Eldora.”

While most of television’s focus is on the front-runners in the race and championship battle, you’ve got to look a little deeper to see the smaller success stories. Armstrong may only have two top 10s, however he has just two finishes outside the top 20 in the first nine events. While it’s not exactly championship caliber results, it’s substantially better than the 25th-place average finish the 21-year-old posted in the same number of races last year. Though the team is far from running for the championship, they should definitely take pride in the little steps they’re taking.

Quick Hits:

- Earlier this month, Todd Bodine told SiriusXM’s “Tradin’ Paint” that he had made a “decision based a lot on performance” not to drive the No. 13 ThorSport Toyota any more. But in what turned out to be a brilliant move by SPEED, they tapped Bodine to fill in for Michael Waltrip, who had prior commitments for Saturday night’s American Ethanol 200. Not all drivers providing their thoughts throughout a race broadcast have hit the ball out of the park, however I was very impressed with Bodine’s presence. He was able to share valuable insight from his current knowledge, something that’s very important when commenting on what a driver is feeling or thinking. Though I do believe he’s not done racing, I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing Bodine involved in future race broadcasts when he isn’t on the track.

- German Quiroga became the first Mexican-born pole-sitter in the Truck Series on Saturday afternoon. After leading the first 56 laps uncontested, the driver of the No. 77 OtterBox Toyota found hiimself involved in two different on-track incidents that caused damage to his truck and dropped him to a 14th-place finish.

- Early in the running of Saturday night’s race, it became clear that Ross Chastain had a problem with his truck. As he dropped several positions, he just hung on until he was able to get to pit road and allow the No. 19 team to diagnose the issue. Later in the race, it was reported that Chastain had suffered a broken valve spring, a failure that wasn’t terminal and allowed him to continue racing. But despite the loss of power from the broken part, Chastain still finish a respectable 13th.

Truck Rookie Report
2013 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
Ryan Blaney (No. 29)
Jeb Burton (No. 4)
Brennan Newberry (No. 14)
German Quiroga, Jr. (No. 77)
Ryan Truex (No. 30)
Darrell Wallace, Jr. (No. 54)

No. of Rookies in the Race: 13 (add Erik Jones, Chase Elliott, Frank Kimmel, Jimmy Weller, Josh Reume, Tyler Young, Justin Jennings and Steve Wallace)

No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 3; Erik Jones, finished second; Chase Elliott, finished fifth; Darrell Wallace, Jr., finished eighth

Rookie of the Race: Darrell Wallace, Jr., finished eighth

Note: Erik Jones and Chase Elliott are ineligible for the Rookie of the Race award.

Rookie Quotes:

“We had a great Toyota Care Toyota Tundra all night long. Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) made the right calls in the pits. We got a little tight in the middle of the second run, but we got back out of it. At the end there we had to be a little aggressive on the restart and that’s what we did. Got up in the second position and actually started running Timothy (Peters) down there at the end. I thought we could have had a shot at him, but we couldn’t quite get there. It was a great day for us. Great to get up in the top-five and great for the owner’s points for the 51. I just want to say happy birthday to my grandpa down in Florida, he’s turning 81 today.” Erik Jones

“It was a good run. Up and down night for us in our Camping World Good Sam Toyota Tundra team. It was a hard fought battle from lap one to lap 200. First we started in the back, made our way up there and spun out kind of mid-pack and then made our way back to a top-10 finish with an eighth-place finish. I’m super proud of my guys. We just missed it by a little bit. They stayed fighting hard and so did I to get a top-10 finish — a lot better than where we’ve been finishing.” Darrell Wallace, Jr.

“We’ve learned two things out of this. We got a truck that we weren’t really happy with in qualifying, made it right and fought back, and we’ve got to be extra careful on restarts. It happens. We were one of the fastest trucks out there tonight. I’m glad I learned this track because I’ll be ready in September. I’m not going to get discouraged. I’m learning as I go. My focus now: Eldora.” Jeb Burton, finished 22nd

Championship Checkup:
Each week we’ll take a look at the championship picture and find out which drivers were affected the most by the racing on track.

Biggest Winner: Timothy Peters may have four top-6 finishes this year, but pair those with a trio of sub top-25 results and he’s far from where he was at this point last season. Leading the points nine races in at this point last year, Peters now finds himself celebrating a jump up two positions to eighth. But it isn’t the win this weekend alone that has helped that. Since moving from 16th to 12th following a solid 12th-place run at Dover, Peters has now jumped four more spots on the strength of three top-15 results. While he’s far from really mixing it up for the championship at this point, it’s hard for Peters not to be happy with the progress he and the No. 17 Red Horse Racing team have made over the last four races.

Biggest Loser: Once again, Brendan Gaughan is the biggest loser, this time dropping another two spots to ninth in the standings after a disappointing 31st-place result following contact with German Quiroga that resulted in both right and left-front damage to the No. 62 Chevrolet. Now 77 markers out of the point lead in ninth, Gaughan is little more than a longshot at the title in a season he entered with high hopes.

Points Update: Matt Crafton maintained his spot atop the standings and actually expanded his lead over rookie Jeb Burton to 38 points. Defending champion James Buescher’s third-place result moved him up one spot, while Ty Dillon dropped to third. Johnny Sauter rounds out the top 5.

Ryan Blaney remains in sixth, followed by Miguel Paludo, who moved up one yet another position on the strength of his fourth top 10 in five races. Timothy Peters’ victory allowed him to jump two spots to eight, 76 markers behind the leader. Brendan Gaughan, who dropped two spots and Darrell Wallace, Jr., who’s down one position, round out the top 10.

Quotable:

“Butch (Hylton, crew chief) made a great call at the end there to put two (tires) on and it tightened it up where I could get that great restart and hustle into (turn) one like I needed to. I can’t thank these guys enough. I told the guys earlier, we were having a ‘Days of Thunder’ moment. Butch (Hylton, crew chief) had to keep me calm on the radio because I was not really going to pieces, but couldn’t go into the corner like I wanted to. All in all, it was a great night and glad to be back in victory lane.” Timothy Peters

“It was another great race for our Rheem team and a overall solid points night. It was fun to run out front, and I think we had something for the top two but we just ran out of laps. I ended up getting a little too tight there at the end. I think I made the mistake by calling for a chassis adjustment when I we could have left our truck how it was coming off our last pit stop. Our Rheem team was awesome all weekend, and I can’t thank them enough for all the hard work they always put in.” James Buescher, finished third

Up Next: The Camping World Truck Series heads off to Eldora Raceway for their first race on dirt July 24th. The inaugural Midsummer Classic will be televised on live SPEED beginning at 8:00 PM ET; it can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate or SiriusXM Channel 90.

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©2000 - 2008 Beth Lunkenheimer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

john
07/15/2013 12:43 PM
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This was a really entertaining race with some good passing. Still can’t believe Peters snookered everyone on that last restart from the INSIDE.

Old Fan Bill
07/15/2013 01:20 PM
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Its was nice not having to listen to M. Waltrip.

FSBeth
07/15/2013 02:39 PM
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And even better that we didn’t have to hear Jeb Bush instead of Jeb Burton at all in this race…

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