BLANEY, PETERS CONTACT PROPELS FIERY POST-RACE
August 21, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Timothy Peters said it was “short track racing.”
Ryan Blaney felt otherwise.
Contact between the two as they battled for the lead in Wednesday night’s UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway resulted in Blaney brushing the wall and Peters keeping the lead.
The lap 138 skirmish, brief as it was, damaged the right side of the No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford, although Blaney managed to battle back to finish third.
Peters finished second after a stirring side-by-side with Kyle Busch at the end of the race, spinning out after contact as the two sped to the finish line.
“I thought we had a good truck all day,” said Blaney, a winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stop at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway earlier this month. “We qualified second and were up in the top five all day long.
“I had a chance to get by the 17 (of Peters) there, he was running the middle of the track and I … went up top.”
There was room. There was also plenty of dirt and debris, washed up by the constant buzz of trucks circling the 0.533-mile track. The loose stuff, in other words.
“He knew I was coming,” Blaney said, “and just ran us all the way up the race track and into the fence. Not too happy about that but happy with the way we performed today.”
Blaney, competing for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, moved up one spot in the points standings, to seventh, with the third-place finish. Peters climbed two spots, to fifth.
“We never had any history together,” Peters said. “I don’t feel like I have to go down there and talk to him. That’s short-track racing. I didn’t do it purposely.”
All of the lead-lap trucks save for Peters pitted under caution with less than 20 laps remaining. That move, Blaney said, likely kept him out of trouble on the ensuing restart when team owner and teammate Brad Keselowski spun following contact.
“I was lucky to be fourth on that … restart, behind Timothy,” he said. “Because the 88 (of Matt Crafton) ran out (of gas); it spun Brad out -- he got hit from behind. I was lucky that the 17 (of Peters) didn’t run out right in front of me because the same thing would have happened to us.
“I thought it was a really good call (to pit) and most everyone else came with us. Looking back on it, we had such a big gap from us to the guy running fourth … that we should have taken four tires. But that’s a tough decision to make, a last minute decision.”