Martinsville Speedway is a home race for Timothy Peters, and the 36-year-old veteran sees the half-mile track as a perfect opportunity to snap a winless drought dating back to November 2015.
Peters enters Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville sixth in points after finishing 17th at Daytona and a ninth at Atlanta. This weekend, he heads to the site of his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory with a new truck and renewed optimism.
“I feel really good about our chances,” Peters told POPULAR SPEED. “We’re bringing a brand new truck out of the Red Horse stable. Excited to get on the racetrack. Hopefully Mother Nature ill hold off. I love short track racing, it’s what I grew up on. Every time we go back to Martinsville, it puts a smile on my face.”
Martinsville has been good to Peters over the years. Along with a victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series back in 2009, Peters is also a former winner of the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 – Martinsville Speedway’s annual Late Model Stock Car fall classic.
When Peters won at Martinsville in 2005, it was his goal at the time to get to where he is now, racing professionally full-time in one of NASCAR’s top three touring series.
“That was the goal,” Peters recalled. “You always have dreams to race professionally full time. I had a lot of people make that happen for me throughout my racing career, a lot of people. The list goes on and on and on. If it wasn’t for Mac and Steven Bailey with S&M brands, when they were heavily involved, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”
In his Late Model Stock Car career, Peters won championships at South Boston Speedway in Virginia and Orange County Speedway in North Carolina. While he is now one of the biggest names in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, he has not forgotten his roots and still feels passionate about Late Model Stock Car racing.
Last season, he won a CARS Tour race at Orange County and, in 2015, he dueled Tommy Lemons, Jr. for the win in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville.
“I’m rooted deep into Late Model Stock Car racing and I love it,” Peters explained. “A lot of the guys I raced with several years ago, I’m able to catch up and race with them again. They are fierce competitors and deserve to be where I’m at but circumstances, they haven’t got there for whatever reason. I enjoy going back and racing against tough competition.”
Peters still helps out the Nelson Motorsports team, which fields cars driven by up-and-comers Brandon Pierce and Bobby McCarty at South Boston Speedway. Occasionally, Peters shows up to compete himself, which he says helps keep him in good shape.
“I’m passionate about LMSC racing, I’m heavily involved with Nelson Motorsports,” Peters continued. “We have two great drivers with Pierce and McCarty. It puts a smile on my face to see both of these guys racing well and racing for wins. I try to go back as much as I can when we have breaks in the first part of the schedule. It keeps me in good shape and helps me evaluate the program so I can help them in the future.”
Peters was in contention for his second ValleyStar Credit Union 300 victory in 2015 but, instead of scoring the win, he ended up crashing into the inside SAFER barrier on the frontstretch. Fortunately, Peters walked away from one of the most violent crashes of his career thanks to the safety improvements made to the cars and at the tracks.
Safety continues to be at the forefront of NASCAR racing after a concussion sidelined Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for much of the 2016 season.
“There’s no price on safety so, obviously, that was a pretty hard hit I took a couple years ago that I took,” Peters recalled. “They built me a safe racecar, the guys mounted the seat properly. I was a little sore but things happen. They don’t call it racing or nothing. You can’t stop improving on safety but it’s a lot more advanced than it was 20 years ago.”
This weekend, Peters is hoping to clinch a spot in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff with a victory. A win on Saturday would be his first win since November 13, 2015, when he won a race at Phoenix International Raceway.
“Everybody at Red Horse has been working on our Tundras,” Peters remarked. “Our owner, Tom DeLoach, has invested heavily in our equipment. Not to say our equipment isn’t good, because it is, but we want to make it better so we’re one up on our competition. We took a new truck to Atlanta. We want to get back to victory lane and bring that championship home to Red Horse.”
While Peters has yet to score a victory in 2017, he is satisfied with the performance of the Red Horse Racing team so far. He found himself in contention for the win in the season opener at Daytona back in February before getting swept up in the last lap crash. He was able to rebound at Atlanta a week later, recovering from a pit road miscue to score a top-10 finish.
“Atlanta, we ended up ninth,” Peters commented. “We were very, we had great potential for a top-five but had to come in and put a lug nut back on. Daytona, it doesn’t get better than that. You’re running second or third when you come across the line for the white flag and feel like you’re in good position. We got caught up in that wreck coming out of two. Our season is going good, we need it to be a little better.”
With his season going on the right track, Peters is now hoping to score his first win of 2017 in front of his hometown crowd at Martinsville Speedway.
Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250, the third race in the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series campaign, will commence at 3pm. The race will be broadcast live on the Fox television network and can be streamed live on the Fox Sports GO app.
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