Story by: Mike Neff ~ [email protected] – @MNeffShortTrack on twitter

Daytona Beach, FL(February 25, 2012) — Over the last three years, John King was wheeling a Late Model stock car in the UARA series along with running some select Whelen All-American Series races, Legends races and a handful of Truck Series starts. Friday night he shocked the NASCAR world by scoring the victory in the season opening Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona. The 23 year-old driver had scored a grand total of two wins in his entire racing career before hoisting the trophy in victory lane at the World Center of Speed. He will be running the full season for Red Horse Racing and competing for the Rookie of the Year title in the Truck series.

King started Friday night’s race in the 23rd spot but found himself in the front group as the race wound down and began going through green-white-checker restarts. He was running in second position as the field was approaching the white flag on lap 104 when he got a run on race leader Johnny Sauter. The subsequent impact on Sauter’s right rear bumper sent the Thor Sport driver hard to the right and into the outside wall, triggering a large pileup. King later accepted responsibility for the mishap but benefitted by being the leader of the race after that point. From then on, he hugged the double yellow line at the bottom of the track, after the restart, and went on to score one of the more surprising wins in the history of the series.

King’s teammate Timothy Peters followed the first time Truck Series winner to the checkered flag. Justin Lofton was scored third ahead of Travis Kvapil. Jason White fought for the lead for much of the night and ended up rounding out the top five.

The race went green for the first 18 laps, with polesitter Miguel Paludo leading, before the cars of Paulie Harraka, Jason Leffler, Dakoda Armstrong and Chris Cockrum got all wadded up on the front straight to bring out the first caution of the day. The race went green again on lap 24 with Paludo at the point again until the NASCAR officials spotted debris on the track on lap 42, bringing out the second caution of the event. Another round of pit stops was followed by James Buescher, Paludo’s teammate snagging the point on the restart for four laps before the caution flew again for debris. On the restart from that caution Paludo regained the top spot. The caution flew a fourth time on lap 63 for a big wreck that caught up T.J. Duke, King, Cale Gale, Mike Skinner, and Matt Crafton.

Nelson Piquet, Jr., the third Turner Motorsports entry, took over the lead of the race on the restart from caution number four and maintained that lead until Paludo somehow got turned around coming out of turn four on lap 85, taking a long slide to the inside wall and absorbing a big hit. The race returned to green on lap 91 with Jason White leading the field for four laps before Ross Chastain, Parker Kligerman, Dusty Davis, David Starr and Bryan Silas got all kinds of wadded up on the front straight with Starr ending up coming to rest against the pit road wall. The caution went in the air on lap 95 but the cleanup lasted until lap 100 so the race went into overtime.

On the first attempt at a green-white-checker finish Johnny Sauter grabbed the top spot but was unable to make it back to the white flag before another large melee on the front straight. Ty Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Davis, Max Gresham, Ryan Sieg, Rick Crawford and Clay Greenfield all received some damage during the incident. Keselowski, Gresham and Crawford were done for the night. The race went green again on lap 104 and, as the field approached the white flag again, King got into the bumper of Sauter, sending him up the track and triggering another junk yard inducing wreck on the front straight. Dillon, Sieg, Kligerman, Chris Fontaine, Piquet, Jr., Crafton, Enfinger, Sauter, Brendan Gaughan, Starr and King were all involved. The race was red flagged while the carnage was removed from the front straight and then King brought the field back to green again. As the pack returned for the white flag a third time, and the last effort of a green-white-checker finish, James Buescher, Ron Hornaday and Joey Coulter got together with Coulter ending up airborne and into the catch fence. As Coulter’s car tore a hole in the fence just past the flag stand, Hornaday’s No. 9 drove underneat him. When the caution flew the ninth, and final time, the field was frozen and King was declared the winner.

“This is feature win No. 3 for me — in my whole career,” King said. “It’s unbelievable. I couldn’t imagine being here, and we’re here.”

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – NextEra Energy Resources 250

Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
Friday, February 24, 2012

1. (23) John King #, Toyota, 109
2. (27) Timothy Peters, Toyota, 109
3. (15) Justin Lofton, Chevrolet, 109
4. (19) Travis Kvapil(i), Toyota, 109
5. (8) Jason White, Ford, 109
6. (10) Todd Bodine, Toyota, 109
7. (22) Chris Fontaine, Toyota, 109
8. (25) Ward Burton, Chevrolet, 109
9. (4) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 109
10. (26) Clay Greenfield, Dodge, 109
11. (28) Parker Kligerman, Dodge, 109
12. (21) Grant Enfinger, Ford, 109
13. (16) Dusty Davis #, Toyota, 109
14. (12) Ron Hornaday Jr., Chevrolet, 109
15. (33) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 109
16. (35) Chris Cockrum, Chevrolet, 109
17. (3) James Buescher, Chevrolet, 109
18. (9) Joey Coulter, Chevrolet, Accident, 108
19. (14) Paul Harraka #, Ford, 105
20. (11) Brendan Gaughan(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 104
21. (17) David Starr, Toyota, Accident, 104
22. (2) Nelson Piquet Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 104
23. (30) Matt Crafton, Toyota, Accident, 104
24. (20) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, Accident, 104
25. (36) Rick Crawford, Chevrolet, Accident, 101
26. (29) Max Gresham #, Chevrolet, Accident, 100
27. (5) Brad Keselowski(i), Dodge, Accident, 99
28. (24) Ross Chastain #, Toyota, Accident, 94
29. (32) Bryan Silas #, Ford, Accident, 93
30. (1) Miguel Paludo, Chevrolet, Accident, 83
31. (34) TJ Duke #, Chevrolet, Accident, 62
32. (7) Cale Gale #, Chevrolet, Accident, 61
33. (13) Mike Skinner, Chevrolet, Accident, 61
34. (31) JR Fitzpatrick, Chevrolet, Accident, 61
35. (18) Dakoda Armstrong #, Toyota, Accident, 33
36. (6) Jason Leffler, Toyota, Accident, 17

Average Speed of Race Winner:  119.169 mph.
Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 17 Mins, 13 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Caution.
Caution Flags:  9 for 37 laps.
Lead Changes:  11 among 8 drivers.
Lap Leaders:   M. Paludo 1-20; B. Silas # 21; M. Paludo 22-43; R. Chastain # 44; M. Paludo 45-46; J. Buescher 47-54; M. Paludo 55-66; J. Buescher 67-68; N. Piquet Jr. 69-83; J. White 84-99; J. Sauter 100-103; J. King # 104-109.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  M. Paludo 4 times for 56 laps; J. White 1 time for 16 laps; N. Piquet Jr. 1 time for 15 laps; J. Buescher 2 times for 10 laps; J. King # 1 time for 6 laps; J. Sauter 1 time for 4 laps; R. Chastain # 1 time for 1 lap; B. Silas # 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 10 in Points: J. King # – 47; T. Peters – 42; J. Lofton – 41; J. White – 40; T. Bodine – 38; C. Fontaine – 37; W. Burton – 36; T. Dillon # – 35; C. Greenfield – 34; P. Kligerman – 33.