Peters, who started second, jumped to the lead past pole-sitter Cale Gale at the drop of the green flag and led every lap to roar to his second victory of the season and fifth of his career. The effort broke a tie atop the standings with top rookie Ty Dillon, who ran out of gas while running in the top five on the final restart and finished 21st.
Parker Kligerman, Peters’ Red Horse Racing teammate, matched a career-best in second with Ross Chastain third in his best finish in the Truck Series. Joey Coulter and Brendan Gaughan completed the top five.
Peters became the first driver to lead from green to checkered since Ron Hornaday paced all 225 laps at Louisville Motor Speedway on July 12, 1997. The 1-2 Red Horse Racing finish also gave team owner Tom DeLoach a fitting present for his 65th birthday.
“What an awesome feeling,” Peters said in Victory Lane. ” … I just thank the good Lord for being with me and letting me win two in one year. We’re working really hard, all the guys in the shop. The sky’s the limit right now.”
Peters withstood intense pressure on a handful of late-race restarts, most frequently from Brad Keselowski, the only driver racing in all three NASCAR national series this weekend. But the pressure from the Sprint Cup star subsided on the only attempt at a green-white-checkered finish that extended the race four laps past its scheduled 200-lap distance.
Kligerman slipped past Keselowski, his team owner until last week, on a restart with seven laps to go when the yellow flag flew for a final time for Gale’s heavy crash on the backstretch. That gave Peters a buffer in the form of a teammate starting alongside for the final restart.
“It’s my bad for getting a bad restart,” said Kligerman, making just his second start for Red Horse. “I consider myself a lot better restarter than that, so I’ll be beating myself up for the rest of the week, but congratulations to him. They’ve helped us so much.”
The lengthy clean-up for Gale’s wreck and ensuing overtime finish spelled doom for Keselowski and Dillon, who lined up third and fourth, respectively, for the final two-lap sprint. Keselowski’s truck was the first to stall out; Dillon’s sputtered to a near-stop moments later as Peters sailed away.
“I don’t know — really confusing. I should have had a good three or four laps of fuel left,” said Keselowski, who finished 25th in a quest for his first Truck Series victory. “I don’t know. Something happened, and we’ll have to go back and figure out what it was. We had a pretty good day going.”
The race was the first for a NASCAR national series on Bristol’s reconfigured .533-mile oval. Track officials opted to grind the top groove of progressive banking ground down with the desired effect of making the action closer. It was, eventually, after the first 81 laps were run without a caution period — the longest green-flag run to start a Truck Series race in more than seven years.
Peters boosted his points lead to 17 points over James Buescher, who finished seventh Wednesday. Dillon faded from his tie for the lead to third, 25 points off the top.