Timothy ‘Iceman’ Peters stays cool, earns hot GWC win at ‘Dega

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Timothy Peters was like an Iceman in Saturday’s Fred’s 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Rather than get all hot and worried about all the trucks behind him, Peters coolly went out and drove his race, holding on to earn the green-white-checker victory.

“It was exciting,” Peters told Fox Sports. “It feels good to come back to a superspeedway and get back into victory lane.

“We were good all day today. … This is such a great effort.”

It was Peters’ first win of the season and extends a streak where he has at least one win now in each of the last six seasons.

“Man, we really needed this,” crew chief Marcus Richmond told Fox Sports. “This Red Horse Tundra has been really good. It was good at Daytona.

“We had our ups and downs this year. We felt like we had fast trucks. This whole team has been awesome and stuck together. (The team owners) didn’t give up on us. This is awesome.”

Tayler Malsam finished second, followed by Spencer Gallagher, rookie pole-sitter Tyler Reddick and Ryan Blaney.

Blaney looked like he might steal the win away from Peters but lost the draft and faded in the last half-lap.

Erik Jones finished sixth, followed by Chris Fontaine, John Wes Townley, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Joe Nemechek.

Points leader Matt Crafton finished 14th but lost just two points in the championship standings. He was leading Johnny Sauter by 19 points coming into the race; he now leads Blaney by 17 points unofficially.

Several drivers’ championship hopes took a big hit.

Sauter suffered engine failure, the first time a ThorSport Racing truck has experienced such a malady in more than two years.

The incident was caused when a bolt went through the radiator of Sauter’s truck.

Sauter dropped from second to fourth place and goes from 19 points to 36 points in arrears to Crafton.

“Just another kick in the [butt], I guess,” Sauter told Fox Sports. “It didn’t feel like it blew up. It’s weird. The water temperature didn’t show anything and it just kind of stayed.

“They said it probably just pushed it out so fast it didn’t have an opportunity to reflect anything.

“Whatever. The championship’s over. From here on out, we can just race like hell.”

German Quiroga Jr. also took a big hit – in more than one way. Quiroga triggered a four-truck wreck on Lap 12, ending his day and dropping from sixth to seventh in the points.

Quiroga came into the race 85 points behind Crafton; he’s now 100 points back.

Others involved in the wreck were Mason Mingus, Ron Hornaday Jr., and Ryan Sieg.

On the ensuing caution, as Crafton was leaving his pit stall, he ran into the side of Bryan Silas. Crafton’s truck sustained damage to the right front of his truck, prompting him to pit again for his team to pull out the damaged sheet metal.

Then with about 40 laps to go, Crafton was penalized by NASCAR, along with Joe Nemechek, for tandem drafting.

Crafton claimed he had nothing to do with it, since Nemechek was the one pushing him, but NASCAR officials didn’t see it that way and penalized both drivers with pass-through penalties.

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Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, points

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

POINTS: Standings after Rolex 24 at Daytona l Michelin Endurance Cup standings l Daytona endurance points

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.