While the race at the Phoenix International Raceway centered on the championship battle, Timothy Peters took advantage of some of the championship contender’s misfortune to win the Lucas Oil 150 Friday night at the one-mile oval in the desert.
After some contact between championship contenders and race leaders Erik Jones and Matt Crafton, Peters took the lead with 25 laps to go. The win at Phoenix is Peters second win of the season and his 10th career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory.
Peters win also helped Toyota clinch the 2015 Truck Series Manufactures championship.
“You know we were a top five truck tonight and you know we earned this one. This is just awesome,” said Peters in Victory Lane. “Well the track was still pretty slick, pretty oily when they gave us the one to go. Our truck was good on the short run and we would get a little tight on the long run, corner exits, so it’s all about not over driving the entry.”
For most of the night the top three drivers were the three championship contenders – Jones, Crafton and Tyler Reddick. Jones led for the majority of the race after starting off on the pole. Crafton was the race leader after a restart on lap 120 and after battling side by side with Jones, the two had contact, with Crafton receiving the most damage and taking out his teammate Johnny Sauter.
Post-race Crafton took responsibility for the contact between him and Jones.
“I just got loose, I made a mistake and said mistakes happen, we’re all humans. I said I hate it for the guys, we had such a good, good truck. So we’ll go on, pick our head up and head to Homestead,” Crafton said post-race.
After having started on the pole and finishing in 10th after the contact with Crafton, Jones said he was disappointed and would have wanted to race for the win.
“Well, you’re disappointed. I really don't want to talk about it that much. It’s disappointing, you know. It’s unfortunate when we're racing for the win and that kind of situation happens you know, but everybody makes mistakes and unfortunately Matt made one tonight and it cost both of us a shot at the win. He got the worst end of it, but it doesn't take away from, we had a fast [Toyota] Tundra, we definitely thought we had the best truck here all night,” said Jones after the race. “We still have a 19 point lead. We need to go to Homestead and have a 15th place day, so hopefully we can do that, but just like I said, it’s unfortunate. Wish we could have raced for the win.”
With one race left in the 2015 season and before a champion is crowned at Homestead, Jones remains at the top of the point standings. He will go into the season finale 19 points ahead of Reddick and 32 points ahead of Crafton.