by Jacob Hord, @HordRaceWatcher
After being rained out two weeks ago, The Tezos All Star Circuit of Champions made their season debut at Waynesfield Raceway Park for a Sunday evening show at ‘The Field.’ The evening started with Tyler Courtney breaking into the elusive nine-second bracket during hot laps, as he turned a 9,922 second lap. Scott Bogucki officially broke the track record in qualifying with a 10.040 second lap, nipping the previous record held by Sam Hafertepe Jr. by .016 seconds.
When the field took the green flag for the 30 lap feature, it was Scott Bogucki and Parker Price-Miller who paced the field. Bogucki rocketed out to the lead over Price-Miller, Justin Peck, and Kyle Reinhardt. Bogucki was tripped up a little by the cushion in turns one and two on lap two, but still held the lead, and had a solid .887 seconds over Price-Miller in second.
It didn’t take long for Bogucki to reach lapped traffic, as he was into it by lap five. This allowed Price-Miller to close in and cut the lead to .404 seconds by lap six. Lap seven saw the first caution fly for a spinning Cale Thomas, Cole Macedo, and Carson Short in a separate incident. On the restart, it was all All Star rookie Bogucki.
Two laps later, it all went wrong for Price-Miller, who went for a ride in turns one and two to bring out the red flag. This gave Peck the second position with Reinhardt and Zeb Wise following. Bogucki nailed another restart and had a nice lead for another two laps before a yellow came out for a spinning Travis Philo. Another great restart by Bogucki saw him sneak away from Peck, as Tyler Courtney challenged Wise for fourth.
At the halfway point, Bogucki had a steady lead in the .600 range, but his line was starting to go away. Peck threw a slider at Bogucki on lap 17 in turns three and four, but Bogucki fended Peck off. Bogucki and Peck were side-by-side at the line on lap 18 as they battled each other and the technical track conditions. The battle for the lead allowed third running Reinhardt to catch Bogucki and Peck and suddenly it was a three car battle for the lead.
Bogucki, Peck and Reinhardt continued their battle, as Bogucki and Peck almost made contact in turns one and two on lap 20. Reinhardt was ready to pounce as they got into traffic on lap 22. Peck made his move on Bogucki on lap 23, sliding him in turns three and four, and this time, it stuck. Bogucki fell into the clutches of Reinhardt, and as they battled on lap 24, they both spun out, bringing out the caution.
“He [Bogucki] set a torrid pace out front, and I had a feeling that when the top wore out, he was going to come back to me a little bit,” said Justin Peck. “We got to traffic and he got moving, and just wasn’t clearing guys as fast as he could’ve been to get away from me. I was able to close the gap and kept moving around and searching.”
“I found the bottom down in three and four; it felt like I was going really slow down there, but I was able to get such a launch down the front stretch that it worked out,” continued Peck.
With six to go, Peck was now your leader with Courtney, Wise, and Henry at the front. Peck got a fantastic restart and built a comfortable 1.343 second lead as Bill Balog was challenging Wise and Henry for third, which eventually saw Henry take control of the final podium position. With three circuits remaining, Peck had a 1.575 second lead and looked well on his way to victory, but…
… On the white flag lap, a slowing Gary Taylor brought out the caution right before Peck was about to take the checkered flag. This meant there would be a green-white-checkered finish. That information is important. On the restart, Peck built a lead quickly and took the double checkered flags, right? Not quite. The flagman was waving the checkers a lap too early, which was communicated to the drivers through their radios. So, technically after Peck took the checkers, another caution came out for Cap Henry and Zeb Wise that necessitated another restart. Another attempt at a green-white-checkers was in store for Peck, Courntey, and a hard charging Cole Duncan who started 18th and was now right there with the leaders.
The final restart was much of the same for Peck, though, as he ran away from the battling Courtney and Duncan to nab his second All Star win of the weekend, and complete a 1-2-1 weekend when it came to his finishes. Duncan beat Courtney to the line for second.
“I feel like we earned that one. We tried to finish that race three different times, and I guess the third one was the charm,” Peck said. “You have to stay focused. If I was dwelling on that [late cautions] too much, you’re more likely to make a mistake and get beat straight up, head-to-head. I had to keep my head down, and make sure I was getting good restarts. I knew that if I could get through one and two clean and avoid a slider, I felt like I was going to be ok because I could get through three and four so good,” continued Peck.
For Peck and Buch Motorsports, they’re hitting their stride, as they won at I-96 Speedway on Friday, finished second at Wayne County Speedway on Saturday, and picked up the Waynesfield win to boot on Sunday.
“I’ve been saying it all season, once we finally get rolling and pick off a win, they’re going to keep falling our way. That seems like that’s the direction it’s going. I’m racing with confidence, I feel like I’m making good moves when I need to make them. It seems like if we miss the setup one time we’re on the race track, the next time we get ten times better. That’s what it takes to win these races, it’s consistency, being able to qualify and be in those dashes to start up front. That’s how you put yourself in contention to win championships and put yourself in contention to win races. If we can keep going at this pace that we’re going on, it should be a battle towards the end of the year,” Peck concluded.