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Peters Has Truck Load of Want-To

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, October 28 2009
Timothy Peters celebrated in victory lane at Martinsville last Saturday. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Timothy Peters celebrated in victory lane at Martinsville last Saturday. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

If anyone ever had reasons to quit racing, it would be Timothy Peters.

In 2001, his father, his primary backer, died, but Peters pushed ahead anyway. After finding success on the short tracks of Virginia and the Carolinas, he started getting the calls all aspiring racers dream about.

First it was Bobby Hamilton, offering a truck series ride. Then Richard Childress came calling with an opportunity to race in the Nationwide Series. But neither deal worked out to anyone’s satisfaction, so Peters started over at the bottom, racing a truck out of a two-bay garage behind a friend’s house in Danville, Va.

It was a place more suited for a Saturday night Hobby team, but Peters and his crew chief Chad Kendrick made it work, and found themselves in the top 10 in Camping World Truck Series points a few races into the 2009 season.

During those two-bay days, Peters worked on the truck and served as his own PR representative, doing interviews on his cell phone as he chased down parts for his truck.  Old friends were chipping in with sponsorship. Buddies from home served as his pit crew. They all had faith in Peters.

And he had faith in himself as well. During one of those cell phone interviews early in the season, Peters said he had no doubt he’d one day find success at the top levels of NASCAR.

“I sometimes question the paths I’ve taken,” he said. “But I’ve never considered quitting. I race because I love it. This is all I know, and I know in my heart I can be successful.”

He was right. Last Saturday at Martinsville Speedway, he got his first truck series win.

He did it in a Red Horse Racing Toyota, a ride he got because of his successes racing on a shoe-string budget.

To show just how special the victory was, here’s what runner-up Todd Bodine had to say about it. And consider that Bodine was trying to become the third member of his family, behind brothers Geoff and Brett, to win one of Martinsville’s signature grandfather clock trophies.

“Timmy’s such a good kid,” Bodine said. “He’s as down to earth and as hard-working a guy as you’re going to find. Until he got into the team with (Red Horse Racing owner) Tom (DeLoach), it was him and three guys putting the truck together, driving it to the race track and racing it and coming home and fixing it and going back.

“He worked his tail off to get to where he is. That’s why I’m tickled to death to see him win.”

Peters was understandably grateful to everyone who had helped him get this far in his career.

“Words can’t describe what I’m going through right now,” he said, thanking his car owner, DeLoach, as well as his late father, and Kendrick, the crew chief, for “sticking with me when neither one of us knew what our future was, what would happen.”

It was a call by Kendrick to pit early for tires and fuel that put Peters in position to win at the end. It was their miscalculation on fuel at Martinsville earlier in the year that had Kendrick and Peters focused on mileage this time around.

“We were here in the spring and running fifth with eight to go and ran out,” Kendrick said. “So we sat down and we looked at it and looked at it and looked at it, and in practice we probably spent just as much time on the fuel mileage stuff as we did getting the truck prepared to win.”

But they wound up with both a fast truck and plenty of fuel.

And a fairly solid future.

DeLoach said he’ll keep Peters behind the wheel again next year, even though he’s yet to secure sponsorship for the team.

“Tim will be with Red Horse Racing next year,” Deloach told reporters. “We just don’t know what the paint scheme will be.”

– Rick Minter can be reached at rminter@racintoday.com

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, October 28 2009
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