By K.J. Pilcher (EDITORS: Updates with quotes and results)
Special To NASCAR Wire Service
NEWTON, Iowa--Timothy Peters knows the way to victory lane at Iowa Speedway.
He followed that path Saturday night to his best finish of the season.
It was the Red Horse Racing driver's first win of the season and sixth in his career. He jumped to sixth in points. The track provided a similar boost last year, propelling Peters to a second-place points finish.
"We started off the season a little rocky," Peters said. "We're turning that around. And we're going to shine through the summer months. We're going to shine through Homestead and we're going to get that championship that was so close last year."
Peters grabbed the lead with 27 laps to go, taking the outside lane on Ty Dillon and then pulled away from the field. Crew chief Butch Hylton made the crucial call to replace two tires late, saving time on a pit stop. The move paid dividends, giving Peters the handling he needed to take the corner after the green flag dropped.
"Butch made a great decision there at the end, taking two tires," Peters said. "It gave me the stability and confidence I needed in the corner and get the lead."
Hylton said it wasn't hard decision to make. He praised the pit crew for their efforts.
"I could see Ty. They were three or four stalls before us," Hylton said. "I had a pretty good idea what they were going to do. Our pit crews are awesome.
The first time Peters grabbed the lead from Dillon came off a restart as well, following Johnny Sauter's collision with the wall on Lap 113. After surrendering the lead to James Buescher, Peters made his way back to the front for the final dash to the finish.
"The pit crew did a good job of getting me track position," Peters said. "Track position was very critical."
Dillon thrived on longer runs and seemed dialed in during those stretches. The restarts cost him in the final quarter of the contest.
Jones and Dillon battled for position with Jones gaining an advantage and Dillon fell out of contention. His Chevrolet bounced off the wall after the last restart, dropping Dillon to 16th. Jones challenged Peters, but settled for his third top-10 finish of the season and first at Iowa Speedway. Ron Hornaday Jr. finished fourth, just ahead of Chase Elliott. Darrell Wallace Jr. was the highest finishing official rookie of the year contender, coming in eighth.
Matt Crafton finished sixth to retain a 31-point championship lead over Jeb Burton.
"We were in the top five all night and I'm really proud of that," Jones said. "Being able to be up there to contend is a big step for me."
Buescher, who opted for four tires in the final pit and placed him too far behind the leaders who took two, led 24 laps and placed third. It was his best finish of the season for the defending points champion and his first top-five finish of the season.
Buescher has three top-10 finishes in six starts at Iowa Speedway.
"I'm happy with our third-place run," Buescher said. "A couple mistakes probably beat us at the end."
Despite a flurry of cautions in the second half of the race, the first 54 laps were under green and all led by fast qualifier German Quiroga, who lost the lead to Dillon after lap 56.
Quiroga was certainly happier before the race started. He made history with his qualifying performance.
Quiroga was the fastest of a tremendously quick field, becoming the first Mexican-born NCWTS pole sitter. The driver of Red Horse Racing's No. 77 Toyota Tundra raced to a track record 138.620 mph in qualifying.
"I'm very, very happy," Quiroga said about the feat. "We've been running fast." He ultimately finished 14th.
Even though Quiroga dropped in the field, he kick started a successful showing for RHR here. It was the third straight pole for the team at Iowa Speedway.
"It was a fantastic day for Red Horse Racing," Team owner Tom DeLoach said. "It's a total effort of the team."