Defending Iowa Speedway race winner Timothy Peters headed into Saturday's American Ethanol 200 presented by Hy-Vee with the bar set high to complete the sweep at the Midwest short track. Optimistic to put together commanding run against the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series field, the No. 17 Red Horse Racing crew worked diligently to give Peters a competitive Tundra throughout both practice sessions and qualifying. From his 10th place starting position, Peters was well on his way to another solid night before contact with another competitor and the outside retaining wall relegated him to a 19th place finish.
Searching for the right balance and overall comfort on race runs during both practice sessions, Peters was pleased following a 10th place qualifying effort on Saturday afternoon. Crew chief Butch Hylton and his crew set Peters up with some final adjustments that allowed him to stay near his starting position for the first 20 laps of the night, knocking on the door of the top-10 for the first 25 laps.
Following a restart from the first caution of the night on lap 28, Peters tangled with another competitor coming off of turn two. The incident put his Toyota Tundra into the outside retaining wall, where he sustained significant right side damage. Hylton wasted no time getting on the radio to take command, guiding his crew through three pit stops for repairs under the caution. Remaining calm and thorough during the repairs helped keep Peters on the lead lap.
"It's alright guys, we can still get a good finish out of this. A lot of things can happen between here and the end, let's just use our heads and get everything we can out of it. We can still run top-10, our lap times are good enough," Hylton relayed to the crew following the first round of damage repairs.
Peters held steady and pushed through the damage with his Tundra until a mixture of pit strategies and fuel mileage scrambled the field just past halfway as everyone began to pit under green when they reached their fuel window. With several pit stops earlier to repair damage under caution, Hylton informed Peters he was in a good spot and had more fuel than most. This allowed Peters to drive his way back up into the 12th position despite the damage, riding solidly inside the top 15 until his final scheduled pit stop with just 53 laps remaining.
Just after his stop, Peters was caught two laps down when the caution came out on lap 160. A strategy call by Hylton allowed Peters to take the wave around to get one of his laps back. The team discovered under the seventh caution that damage from the earlier incident had caused the battery in the No. 17 Tundra to fail, forcing the team to bring Peters down pit road with 20 laps remaining. The extended stop for the repair set Peters up for a 19th place finish.
"I just made a mistake on my part at the beginning of the race that cost us what could've been a top-10, possibly a top-five finish. Butch Hylton did a great job staying calm as always and lead the crew through the damage repair that ultimately kept us in the race. This Red Horse Racing crew never gave up and worked really hard to get our Tundra back out there to salvage the best finish we could get and that's all you can ask for," Peters said.
"It's one of those things that you just have to put behind you because it doesn't help us to dwell on it at all. We move on to Kentucky and our races are pretty much back to back from here to the end of the season. We won't let this finish get us down and we'll be back next weekend with another fast Toyota Tundra."