Getting a first win of the season is important but there were bigger victories on the mind of Timothy Peters.
Peters held off a furious challenge from Tayler Malsam and several others on a two-lap overtime and won Saturday’s Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway, his first NASCAR Truck series victory of the year.
Even more special for Peters was who joined him in Victory Lane.
Peters’ Red Horse Racing team had put Steve Byrnes’ name over the right side door in honor of the Fox Sports broadcaster who is now engaged in his second battle with cancer within the past year.
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“It was a class act by everyone involved at Red Horse Racing,” said Peters, who has won at least one race in each of the last six seasons. “Steve’s a class act.
“He was our little guardian angel today. ‘Byrnsee’ – we wish you all the best.”
Shortly after the race, Byrnes, who started chemotherapy treatments recently, posted the following message on his Twitter account:
“Thank you Timothy Peters and Red Horse Racing. Thanks for the ride!”
Peters remained in the lead when a caution came out with two of the scheduled 94 laps remaining when Norm Benning spun on the track.
On the restart of the two-lap overtime, Peters got a quick jump on the field as drivers wildly maneuvered behind him.
Spencer Gallagher finished third, Tyler Reddick was fourth and Ryan Blaney was fifth.
Matt Crafton, who finished 14th and was black-flagged during the race for push drafting with Joe Nemechek, still leads the series standings. He holds a 16-point lead over Blaney with four races remaining.
“We gained a lot of Matt. We had a truck today. I made a mistake early and sped on pit road and that kind of put us back a little bit,” Blaney said.
“We got right back up to the front really fast. I thought we were in the perfect spot leading the outside lane on the last restart but it just didn’t play out.”
The race was slowed six times for caution covering 22 laps. There were 18 lead changes among nine drivers with Peters and Blaney each leading 31 laps in the race.