The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series once again provided an exciting start to the season with rookie John King capturing his first career win in the 13th annual NextEra Energy Resources 250 on the third attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.
King was practically speechless in Gatorade Victory Lane about his first win at Daytona International Speedway after only eight starts in the series.
“Man, I’m a rookie, I’m not supposed to be here,” said a flustered King. “This is unreal. I don’t know what to say. I have never driven anything so smooth in my life as that race truck. It’s just a dream come true.”
King led Timothy Peters across the finish line for a Red Horse Racing 1-2 finish while their third teammate Todd Bodine – a two-time race and series winner – netted his seventh top-five finish in eight starts at the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
The win gave Toyota their sixth-straight win in the season opener – the most of any manufacturer – and marked the third time a driver has earned his first series win at the “World Center of Racing” (Michael Waltrip, 2011; Robert Pressley, 2002).
Turner Motorsports appeared primed to command the race after sweeping the top-three spots of the 36-truck field in qualifying and leading all but two of the first 83 laps. Pole-sitter Miguel Paludo led a race high 56 of the extended 109 laps – the most laps ever run in the 100-lap event. Paludo was just three laps shy of tying Mike Wallace for the most laps ever led in the race – 59 in 2000.
Ty Dillon, brother of 2011 series champion Austin Dillon and grandson or racing legend Richard Childress, showed veteran poise and skill as he brought the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet home in ninth place. 2002 Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton, who made his first NASCAR national touring series start since October 2007, finished eighth in the No. 27 Chevrolet.