In what was a picture perfect night for racing, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opened up their 2012 championship season at the Daytona International Speedway. A race that featured its fair share of single file racing, side-by-side action as well as the unfortunate late race crashes, fans were treated to one of the most entertaining season opening races.
As well as producing maybe the most unlikely winner in the series history competing at Daytona.
23-year-old rookie, John King, found himself taking his first career NCWTS victory in only his eighth career start. Not to mention, his first start at Daytona International Speedway.
“Man, I’m a rookie,” said an overjoyed, and still somewhat shocked King in victory lane.
“I’m not supposed to be here. This is just unreal. This Red Horse Racing Team is unbelievable. From the owner, to the tire guy..everybody does their job. I don’t even know what to say.”
On the third and final green-white-checkered of the night, King found himself with the lead. Alongside him was his teammate and two-time Daytona 250 winner, Todd Bodine. And behind him, the 2010 champion at Daytona, Timothy Peters, yet another Red Horse Racing Truck.
Getting a solid restart, King jumped out with the lead as teammate Peters pushed him all around the 2.5 mile Daytona International Speedway. As the pack came to the white flag, King was still out in front. But farther back in the pack, everything went for not.
Joey Coulter, driver of the RCR No.22 Chevrolet, got sideways coming through the tri-oval for the final time. His truck was then hit by the No.31 of James Buescher, catapulting Coulter’s Chevrolet violently up into the catch fence.
Coulter would emerge from his mangled Chevrolet Okay after the horrifying incident.
Coming around to take the yellow and the checkered flag, young King had a similar state of confusion of what had just really happened to him as did defending Daytona 500 champion who was also competing in his first points paying event at Daytona, Trevor Bayne just one year ago.
“How about John King,” said teammate and runner up in the race, Timothy Peters. “Go back to Top Gun, you never leave your wing man. I’m so happy for John and his team. A great night for the organization.”
“We’ve been there (victory lane at Daytona) with Timothy(Peters), we’ve been there with Todd(Bodine),and now with John,” said Red Horse Racing owner, Tom Deloach like King still appeared to be in disbelief at the result. “All three of my drivers have been tot victory lane at Daytona!”
While the race may have ended with the Red Horse Racing team up in the top spots, the majority of the race was controlled by the Tuner Motorsports Chevrolet’s.
All three Tuner drivers; Buescher, Paludo and Piquet Jr. took turns at the lead in Friday night’s 100 lap event. Up until around the 70 lap mark in the event, the only truck to take a crack at the lead was the No.99 Ford of Bryan Silas who picked up the lead by staying out on an exchange of yellow flag pit stops.
But, after a vicious crash from Paludo, multiple altercations leaving Piquet Jr.’s truck with damage, as well as James Buescher getting shuffled out of line late, the night ended with disappointment for the Tuner organization.
As Tuner’s chances at a win started to fade, 2011 NCWTS point standings runner up, Johnny Sauter, put himself in great position to take the victory in the closing stages. Leading coming to the white flag, Sauter’s Toyota Tundra shot up into the outside retaining wall, ending all chances of victory for him.
“I got help from behind,” said Satuer who was coming to the white with King right behind him.”It was pretty substantial help too. He was getting help from behind, probably from Bodine.
I’m just really proud of all these guys on the team. We were in a position to win..right in the catbird seat. Daytona’s just been an Achilles heal for me. So am I surprised I’m standing here with a twenty-fourth place finish? No.”
With all of the crashing and tempers beside, the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener will go down in the history books as one of the biggest upsets in the series’ short, but rich history.
Results of the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway
- John King
- Timothy Peters
- Justin Lofton
- Travis Kvapil
- Jason White
- Todd Bodine
- Chris Fontaine
- Ward Burton
- Ty Dillon
- Clay Greenfield
- Parker Kligerman
- Grant Enfinger
- Dusty Davis
- Ron Hornaday Jr.
- Ryan Sieg
- Chris Cockrum
- James Buescher
- Joey Coulter
- Paul Harraka
- Brendan Gaughan
- David Starr
- Nelson Piquet Jr.
- Matt Crafton
- Johnny Sauter
- Rick Crawford
- Max Gresham
- Brad Keselowski
- Ross Chastain
- Bryan Silas
- Miguel Paludo
- TJ Duke
- Cale Gale
- Mike Skinner
- JR Fitzpatrick
- Dakoda Armstrong
- Jason Leffler