Timothy Peters won the first race on the revamped surface at Bristol Motor Speedway and did so in dominant fashion, leading all 204 laps Wednesday night in the UNOH 200.
Peters withstood two late-race cautions, including a green-white-checkered, to win his second-race of the season. He was assisted on the final restart however, as contenders Ty Dillon and Brad Keselowski both ran out of fuel and stalled the field from third on back. Peters was left unchallenged and extends his points lead to 17 points over James Buescher. Dillon fell from a tie for the lead to third, 25 points out of first - all for his failed pit strategy.
Peters had the field covered from the start. The first 83 laps were ran caution free and saw Peters jump to a massive lead. The gap closed-up once the leaders began to navigate traffic but Peters was able to dispose of the pack easier than Keselowski and Todd Bodine, his most consistent challengers.
The only major accident of the evening occurred with 40 laps to go as pole-sitter Cale Gale and Bodine collided at the end of turn 2, cutting the latter's tire, leading to Bodine spinning and hitting the turn 4 outside retaining wall.
Bodine was unable to finish the race and Gale lost the steering on his truck and was later collected on an accident with six laps to go, partially due to the lost track position.
But ultimately, it was a banner day for Red Horse Racing, who placed first and second with Peters and Patrick Kligerman. Ross Chastain finished third for Green Light Racing, his best finish in the Camping World Truck Series. The complete updated championship standings can be found here.
Thoughts on the new track surface plus a complete finishing order can be found after the jump.
My initial impression from looking at the surface is that Smith didn't order enough of the track receive the grating. Wednesday's race confirmed it. There's still a second groove and it's the preferred lane for passing. Lap cars complicate the process of passing but it's not the Bristol of yesteryear.
I have two responses to this. First, I could comment Bruton for taking the conservative approach, not wanting to shred too much of his surface, just in case it negatively affected the racing. Instead, I choose to criticize his staff's decision, largely maintaining the status quo, promoting the return of ‘old Bristol' just for the sake of selling tickets.
Instead of returning to Bristol's short track roots or enhancing the new track surface, I can't help but think fans were presented with a more diluted Bristol experience. Fans were neither awarded the qualities of classic Bristol or the benefits of new Bristol. In fact, the third groove actually started to work in with about 40 laps to go.
By the end of the race, the track resembled same new Bristol. That's good news for fans of the modern circuit, but not the nearly 75 percent that demanded changes. (For the record, I'll never believe Bruton's claims of 50/50; Twitter and reputable media outlets said otherwide.)
The finish was exciting but it's much too early to tell if that's an anomaly or an emerging trend. The overtime finish was assisted by Cale Gale's caution, but the race easily could have stayed green just like the opening laps which avoided accidents.
I also don't like that Peters led every single lap. But I suspect that this would have happened regardless of the track layout. Red Horse Racing had Peter's truck dialed-in and unbeatable.
So it's not my intend to bury the ‘new' Bristol. It's just that I wasn't overly impressed and I'm willing to watch this weekend's races before I make my final decision. Stay tuned...
But how about you - what do you think about the new Bristol Motor Speedway? Did the changes meet your expectation or did this first race on the altered surface leave you wanting something else? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter at @MattWeaverSBN or @NASCARRnR.
Final Laps: Peters goes wire-to-wire, others come up dry (via TheOfficialNASCAR)
|1||2||17||Timothy Peters||Red Horse Racing Toyota||204||48||5||150.0||$36,525||Running||1||204|
|2||9||7||Parker Kligerman||Toyota Toyota||204||42||108.7||$23,915||Running|
|3||15||08||Ross Chastain #||Melon 1 Toyota||204||41||86.0||$20,460||Running|
|4||8||22||Joey Coulter||Steak-umm Chevrolet||204||40||103.6||$14,200||Running|
|5||11||2||Brendan Gaughan(i)||South Point Chevrolet||204||0||99.5||$12,700||Running|
|6||5||19||Ryan Blaney(i)||Cooper Standard RAM||204||0||88.8||$9,025||Running|
|7||28||31||James Buescher||Exide Chevrolet||204||37||85.1||$11,125||Running|
|8||17||9||Ron Hornaday Jr.||Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet||204||36||73.6||$11,075||Running|
|9||7||88||Matt Crafton||Menards/Great Lakes Toyota||204||35||83.4||$11,025||Running|
|10||32||6||Justin Lofton||Millennium Private Jet Services/Lofton Cattle Chevrolet||204||34||76.5||$12,250||Running|
|11||10||13||Johnny Sauter||Hot Honeys/Curb Records Toyota||204||33||92.5||$11,925||Running|
|12||21||39||Ryan Sieg||RSS Racing Chevrolet||204||32||65.2||$10,775||Running|
|13||19||81||David Starr||Chasco/Zachry Toyota||204||31||73.2||$10,725||Running|
|14||27||23||Jason White||Gunbroker.com Ford||204||30||59.5||$10,675||Running|
|15||23||27||BJ McLeod||Boggy Creek Air Boat Rides Chevrolet||204||29||59.7||$11,675||Running|
|16||29||32||Miguel Paludo||Duroline Chevrolet||204||28||55.3||$10,525||Running|
|17||22||18||Brian Scott(i)||Dollar General Toyota||204||0||72.5||$8,220||Running|
|18||6||30||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Drink B Chevrolet||204||26||94.6||$10,400||Running|
|19||20||75||Caleb Holman #||Food Country USA/Wise Snacks/Pizza Plus Chevrolet||204||25||60.9||$8,100||Running|
|20||13||02||Tyler Young #||Rando Chevrolet||203||24||58.3||$8,675||Running|
|21||12||3||Ty Dillon #||Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet||202||23||80.5||$10,250||Running|
|22||30||99||Bryan Silas #||Rockingham Speedway Ford||202||22||44.0||$10,225||Running|
|23||24||92||Chad McCumbee||FleetHQ.com/BTS Tire & Wheel/QMI Chevrolet||202||21||45.9||$7,950||Running|
|24||25||09||John Wes Townley||Zaxby's Toyota||202||20||49.6||$8,925||Running|
|25||4||29||Brad Keselowski(i)||Reese Towpower RAM||201||0||102.7||$8,025||Running|
|26||35||84||Russ Dugger||JPO Absorbents Chevrolet||200||18||33.5||$8,825||Running|
|27||36||57||Norm Benning||Norm Benning Racing Chevrolet||196||17||32.2||$7,800||Running|
|28||1||33||Cale Gale #||Rheem Chevrolet||193||16||96.9||$10,075||Accident|
|29||16||01||Jake Crum||Bandit Chippers Chevrolet||187||15||70.3||$7,725||Accident|
|30||18||98||Dakoda Armstrong #||EverFi.com Toyota||168||14||47.2||$7,700||Running|
|31||3||11||Todd Bodine||Toyota Care Toyota||159||13||91.1||$7,765||Accident|
|32||26||07||Jeff Agnew||Mark 4 Suzuki Chevrolet||91||12||38.0||$7,200||Accident|
|33||34||93||Chris Jones||RSS Racing Chevrolet||81||11||30.5||$7,175||Accident|
|34||14||86||Clay Greenfield||Titan Tool/Star Road-Guard RAM||53||10||32.7||$7,150||Brakes|
|35||31||38||Dennis Setzer||RSS Racing Chevrolet||4||9||28.0||$7,125||Brakes|
|36||33||5||Johnny Chapman||Wauters Motorsports Chevrolet||2||8||26.8||$7,089||Electrical|