Not one for Kevin Harvick winning two out of the first four Camping World Truck Series race? Don’t care for Ron Hornaday setting records and winning championships? Are you ready for an up-and-coming driver that can compete with the veterans?
Then look no further than at the new point leader in the CWTS, Timothy Peters.
Only in his second full season of racing Trucks, as well as with Red Horse Racing, it hasn’t taken Peters long to show everyone that he’s for real. After capturing his first career win at his home track in Martinsville last season, he went on to finish the season eighth in points and got onto the radar of many.
For fans Peters is easy to root for. Soft-spoken and well mannered, the 29-year-old grew up and still lives 20 minutes from the Martinsville Speedway, remaining a down to earth guy. Never one to get ahead of himself and call his shot, Peters would describe himself as confident, “but not cocky.”
He doesn’t need to be, his driving behind the wheel of the No. 17 Strutmasters.com/Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra does that for him. In 2010 it took him to the biggest win of his career at Daytona and a seventh place finish two weeks ago at Atlanta. He returned home to finish fourth and take the points lead by 59 markers over Aric Almirola, before heading to Nashville where he led laps late, earned another fourth place finish, and increased his point lead to 89 markers.
Some might say he’s making it look easy, as if he’s done this before.
Truth is, before 2009 Peters wasn’t even a blimp on the map, running partial schedules from the time he entered the series in 2005 up until 2008 for various teams. Then in 2009 he became part owner of the newly formed Premiere Racing. Unfortunately for Peters he knew things might not last long if he couldn’t get someone to notice him.
“What a difference a year makes. Last year this was the fourth race on the schedule and that’s all the funding we knew we had to make it,” Peters said last weekend.
“Coming into this race this was the shot that I had to run well and prove that I could be here.”
He didn’t get the finish he was hoping for that day but his big break was just around the corner thanks to Tom DeLoach. The organization houses trucks for Nelson Piquet Jr., Justin Lofton, and TJ Bell, but mid-way through last year as Peters describes it, “Tom gave me that call in June and allowed me to come over to his race team. Tom put me on the map.”
Just as he did in February after winning Daytona, Peters then went on to describe how thankful he is towards DeLoach and what a great guy he is. Peters noted how after last season Deloach said he was going to do what it took to make the No. 17 team a championship contender not only with equipment, but also by pairing him with crew chief Jeff Hensley.
So far in 2010 the two are making the owner look good.
Even Peters’ peers are impressed with how he’s taken to his new ride, Todd Bodine and defending series champion Ron Hornaday have each praised him. Hornaday acknowledged that Peters would be a driver he battles with for the title this year, while Bodine spoke nothing but highly of him after Daytona.
In his post race press conference he said, “A kid like Timothy, he’s got such a future in our sport. He’s one of those kids that, with the right break, would be sitting over in a Cup garage right now. He’s that good, that good a kid. That’s how much I respect him. To get beat by him, that takes a little of the edge off.”
Now firmly in the spotlight and having instant success, you wouldn’t know it if you talked to Peters. Now one of the faces of the Camping World Trucks Series, he’s just enjoying the ride and hoping that it lasts, finally finding a home with a team where he fits in. He’s comfortable and succeeding. Not bad for someone who this time last year wasn’t sure he was going to have a job.
It’s all something that Peters may not even have grasped. When trying to explain the situation he was in last year he appeared hesitant and lost in thought. Or maybe he’s still shell shocked about how his life has changed, he’s on top of the world. Things can only go up from here and if they do, Peters doesn’t seem like one to let it go to his head.
He knows why he’s here and whom he has to thank.
“He’s [Tom DeLoach] a great guy. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him and for him to give me the opportunity that he has is just overwhelming for me,” says Peters. “It makes you feel like you belong because you go to the racetrack each and every week and you know you can run well. And when you do it answers some questions that you might have had deep down inside.”
“Very fortunate where I’m at now versus last year because it was a struggle.”
Struggles behind him, Timothy Peters is becoming a star in NASCAR and who doesn’t want to root for a star and possible future champion?