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In a Nutshell: Timothy Peters took the checkered flag 1.815 seconds ahead of Todd Bodine to win the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway Saturday afternoon. On lap 116, Peters inherited the lead when then-leader Denny Hamlin pitted for adjustments and led for the remainder of the race on the way to his first career Camping World Truck Series victory. Colin Braun, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five.
Who Should Have Won: Peters. Peters started in the 11th position and managed to move into the top 10 quickly after the green flag flew. He moved his No. 1 Strutmasters.com Toyota into the top five on lap 67 and continued to make gains on the leader. On lap 108, Peters found himself in second, 1.252 seconds behind leader Hamlin, but one lap later he had cut that lead in half. He would have run down Hamlin if it the caution hadn’t flown on lap 115. After inheriting the lead under that yellow flag, Peters went on to lead the remaining 84 laps en route to the win.
Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race
1. How did Mike Skinner fare in his 200th career start?
The Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway marked Mike Skinner‘s 200th career CWTS start. The weekend started off well for the No. 5 team, with Skinner leading both practice sessions and starting on the pole.
When the green flag flew, Mike Skinner found himself in a tense side-by-side battle with points leader Hornaday Jr. But that’s as good as the day would get for the veteran after a series of missteps ruined his day. It started with a penalty; while pitting under the second caution flag Skinner, along with Hornaday Jr. and Harvick, was busted for speeding on pit road, putting him on the back of the longest line for the restart.
Later, the fourth caution of the afternoon flew when contact from Skinner’s No. 5 truck sent Johnny Sauter spinning. But that wasn’t the last of the contact on the track for him. With 33 laps remaining, the the driver of the No. 5 Toyota found himself caught up in another driver’s mess.
Burt Myers and Chris Fontaine wrecked, and Skinner was unable to avoid the slowing No. 07 of Myers. Skinner’s Toyota took some right front damage that caused a flat tire and forced him to pit. After that wreck, his truck wasn’t nearly as fast or good as it had been in the early stages of the race, as he limped home to finish 23rd, four laps down.
It’s clear to see Skinner would probably like to forget his 200th career start. But to be fair to the driver of the No. 5 Toyota, Martinsville is a tough track on most drivers. He’s probably happy to be done with the Kroger 200 and ready to move on to Talladega next weekend.
2. How did Tim Brown, Burt Myers and Derek White fare in their debuts?
Modified drivers Tim Brown and Myers, along with Canadian driver Derek White, made their CWTS debuts at Martinsville Speedway. Brown and Myers both piloted trucks fielded by SS Green Light Racing, while White drove Mario Gosselin’s No. 12 Chevrolet sponsored by O.C.R. Gaz Bar.
Brown started in the 26th position and dropped a spot within the first 10 laps of the race. Things got worse from there, as he lost another 21 laps to the leaders in his No. 08 FW1/Fastwax.com before the checkered flag flew. Credited with a 27th-place finishing position, he was the last of the trucks that made it to the end.
Fellow modified driver Myers couldn’t keep himself out of the spotlight Saturday afternoon – but for the wrong reasons. He started 17th, the highest of any of the debuting drivers, but found himself involved in multiple incidents on the track. The first one came when the driver of the No. 07 JRC Investments/Wyatt Winstead Foundation Chevrolet spun on his own while running in the 19th position, causing heavy damage to the back end of his truck.
The next incident Myers found himself involved in was caused when Max Papis hit the curb coming out of the turn on lap 115 and sent both trucks spinning. There was little damage done in addition to what the No. 07 Chevrolet already had.
Then, with 33 laps remaining, Myers made contact with Fontaine, and Skinner hit the left-rear corner of the No. 07. Still, despite that trio of crashes Myers went on to finish the Kroger 200 just one lap down in the 19th position.
In comparison, White was pretty quiet in his CWTS debut. He started in the 34th position and ran deep in the field for most of the afternoon. When the checkered flag flew, White was credited with a 26th-place finish, but he had only managed to complete 188 of the 200 laps run.
While none of the drivers burned up the track during their debuts, each one gained some valuable track time. Martinsville isn’t exactly easy on the veterans, so it’s not surprising to see new drivers struggle a little. Until he was involved in multiple incidents on the track, Myers seemed to be the one driver of the three that managed to get anywhere in the field. With any amount of good luck, at least one of these three drivers will become a future rookie in the Camping World Truck Series.
Truck Rookie Report
2009 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
Chase Austin (No. 32 – on hold due to funding)
James Buescher (No. 10)
Ricky Carmichael (No. 4 – part-time, shared ride)
JR Fitzpatrick (No. 4 – part-time, shared ride)
Tayler Malsam (No. 81)
Johnny Sauter (No. 13)
No. of Rookies in the Race: 5
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 0
Rookie of the Race: Buescher, finished 11th
“I wasn’t happy with the truck [Friday]. We got up to where we were in the spring and I’m the Raybestos Rookie of the Race again, so what more can you ask for? Didn’t knock the fenders around too bad.” – James Buescher
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle
Peters piloted the No. 1 Strutmasters.com Toyota on his way to his first career win. Peters, who usually drives the No. 17, ran the No. 1 because Peyton Sellers ran the No. 17 truck for his old team, Premier Racing.
Hornaday Jr.’s third place finish allowed him to extend his lead over Matt Crafton to 224 points, the largest margin ever held by a championship leader with four races remaining. Skinner remains in third but finds himself 326 points behind. Bodine moved up to fourth and Brian Scott dropped one spot to round out the top five.
Braun moved up one spot to sixth and Peters moved up two spots to seventh. Sauter dropped three spots to eighth after finishing 16th. David Starr moved up one spot to ninth and Rick Crawford dropped two spots to round out the top 10.
“The No. 1 was number one [Saturday]. Words can’t describe what I’m going through right now. [Gotta thank] these two guys up here, Tom DeLoach for believing in me and giving me an opportunity and Chad Kendrick for sticking with me when neither one of us knew what would happen. I can’t say enough about these guys for the show they put on. It’s been bittersweet, a long time coming. This one is for my Dad.” – Timothy Peters
“Timmy’s (race winner Timothy Peters) such a good kid, and I’ve got to congratulate him. Until he got into the team with [Red Horse Racing owner[ Tom [DeLoach], it was him and three guys putting the truck together, driving it to the racetrack, racing it, coming home and fixing it in time to go back. He worked his tail off to get to where he is. That’s why I’m tickled to death to see him win.” – Todd Bodine
“This VFW Chevrolet was awesome. To come out of here with that many laps on these tires, they’re probably down to the cords. I’m glad the boss was behind me, and he was having brake problems, too.” – Ron Hornaday Jr., finished third
Up Next: The Camping World Truck Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway next Saturday afternoon for the Mountain Dew 250 fueled by Fred’s. In 2008, Bodine made a last-lap pass in turn 4 to score his third consecutive superspeedway victory. Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. ET; the race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.
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