SCARBOROUGH, Maine – John Peters of Westbrook, Maine, won his first career Amsoil NELCAR Legends race, leading the rain-shortened VIP Thursday Thunder 25 from flag-to-flag at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine, on Thursday, June 13.
Peters started outside pole in the 23-car field and grabbed the lead for good as the field entered the backstretch on the very first lap.
“It was not the way I envisioned it,” the 16-year-old Peters said. “I envisioned taking the checkered flag, coming back (to the pits) and being really pumped up.”
It was not as easy as it seemed for Peters. A caution for a spinning car in Turn 2 brought out the caution flag with 20 laps complete, and when Peters led the field to the restart, he knew something was wrong.
Battling a race track slick from raindrops, Peters washed all the way up in Turn 1 and looped the car in front of the field in Turn 2. He received contact from both the wall and another car.
Officials pulled the cars off the track without attempting another restart, scoring the race as final using the lineup prior to the one attempted restart. The remainder of the racing at Beech Ridge was called off because of rain.
“I hit the gas and spun the tires, more than I usually would,” Peters said. “I figured I just screwed up the restart. Then I went down into Turn 1, I backed off even more than I usually do. I had the wheel turned all the way to the left, but I slid all the way back up to the top of the track.
“I tried to ease back onto the throttle, but the back end came around. I got hit from all angles. Right from the get-go, I knew it wasn’t going to be good.”
Peters now has three Top-5 finishes in his last three starts with NELCAR, all coming in this his rookie season. He is also the VIP Thursday Thunder Cup point leader after one of 10 races, after winning the VIP Thursday Thunder Cup in an entry-level division last summer to become the youngest champion in track history at just 15 years old.
“It’s just really disappointing how it ended,” Peters said. “I’m pretty sure we had a Top-3 car no matter what… It just stinks. I really wanted to get my first win with the car in one piece. To come back in multiple pieces, that’s not how I wanted to do it.”