Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Timothy Peters: A Hollywood ending at Lucas Oil Raceway

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Dubbed the “Spin to Win”, Timothy Peters pulled off a monumental win at Lucas Oil Raceway that should be seen in the movies. After overcoming a tire problem at lap 91, veteran crew chief Butch Hylton made the call to take four tires when the No. 17 team pitted. As a result, that call was the deciding factor of the race.

Peters was running 16th at lap 100 and seventh at lap 150 before grabbing the checkered flag. This is just another huge step for Peters, who led 67 laps the previous week in Nashville before finishing third.

To those who do not know, Peters has a rich history in racing. At a young age, he began his racing career in go-karts. Having earned an astonishing 10 World Karting Association National Titles, Peters then moved up to race Late Models. Again successful, Peters was crowned the Late Model track champion at Orange County Speedway (Rougemont, NC) in 2002 and 2003. A native of Danville, Virginia, Peters also raced at South Boston Speedway in Virginia. In 2004, Peters was crowned the track champion at South Boston defeating Denny Hamlin. Peters also won the prestigious 2005 Bailey’s 300 Late Model race at Martinsville Speedway. Speaking on his background, Peters said “my father was my biggest mentor in my racing, he got me started. I grew up in the karts, late model cars and just trying to get to the top. I have been very fortunate.”

Beginning in 2005, Peters has been competing on a part-time basis in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series; however, he began competing full-time in 2009. In just that short time, the NCWTS has evolved significantly and the fan base is growing.  Honestly, I feel that it features some of the best racing in NASCAR. Peters spoke on this and said, “this year especially, though it has always been good, this year is the best I have seen it. It speaks volumes for the series when you have new teams who are coming in. I am just glad to say, I am fortunate being in my third full season and can see at that happen.”

Since joining Red Horse Racing in the middle of the 2009 season, Peters has seen the results change. Top-5s, top-10s, and even three wins - the results are paying off for 30 year old Peters. Currently sitting fourth in the points, only 22 points behind current leader Johnny Sauter, Peters and Hylton look forward to the rest of the season as well as being in the points fight.

Hylton, who has the experience of winning a championship in the Nationwide (Busch) Series with Joe Gibbs (2003) and spent a few years working with Kevin Harvick Inc., is highly respected by his driver.  Peters speaking fondly of working with Hylton, “He came over earlier this year, we have been going down a path and we’ve have great success. We have been trying very hard to turn it around to get our race balance to where it is comfortable for me so we changed a few things and it picked up at Iowa. We didn’t have the results we wanted at Iowa but to be back up there and racing with those guys and we finished 11th. Then we headed to Nashville and we led the most laps and finished third, then go to Indy and win. Hopefully we can keep riding this momentum.” Hylton won at Pocono last year, so look for the Peters/Hylton duo to be up front this weekend as well.

Asking Peters about his victory at Lucas Oil Raceway, now dubbed the “Spin to Win” he said; “If it takes spinning out every weekend from here to Homestead to win, I will do it.”  He continued, “if you would have told me that would be the last caution, when I spun, I would have told you that you were crazy. We had 6-7 lap better tires and we had to pass basically everybody in the field twice. We had a really good truck. We didn’t have much of an advantage there towards the end, its just a testament to this team and what they do not only at the shop but at the track.”

With the future of Lucas Oil Raceway uncertain, Peters' name maybe the last NASCAR Truck Series driver to have won at the track. After the race he said "I hope that they bring the trucks back here, and I hope that I'm not the last winner here," Peters said. "But if they do take it away, I can sit back home in my La-Z-Boy one day, retired, and say I won the last race there. That's pretty cool.".  I asked his thoughts on that being the potential end to such a great track, “I hope as far as being a short track racer, that is not the last race. I do understand the generation of our times and this happens with growth, I respect that as far as our best interest. For me, I am happy with every race on the schedule but I grew up on short tracks, I am more in my element with short track racing. I just hope it does not go away but if it does, at least I can say that I was the last winner at LOR.”

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This win at Lucas Oil Raceway is the third for Peters, the other two coming at Martinsville (2009) and Daytona (2010). As for whether or not he has a particular style of racing, Peters said “I go hard at it every track. I live in Danville, VA but my hometown is Providence, NC and that is just down the road from Martinsville so I consider that my home track. I love Martinsville, if there are two races a year that I want to win desperately, it is there. I really love Nashville too, so those four races on the 25 race schedule are my favorite. My driving style kind of suits Nashville better than anywhere else. It’s the same old story though, if you have a great truck, you are going to love all the places we go to.”

Looking forward, Peters hopes the bad times are behind the team. “The month of July was just horrible for us. We had three bad races in a row and it seemed like we couldn’t catch a break. We went back to the drawing board. We feel like we have gotten through our bad luck, hopefully turned the corner a bit.” The goal for the team, “we just need to get finishes and it would really be nice to get another win. If we can top-5 and top-10 them and hopefully not have anymore bad luck, I do not think we are out of this thing.”



NASCAR By the Numbers and In the Rearview Mirror (looking back at NASCAR's history) are Amanda's two weekly columns with Skirts and Scuffs, but as an Associate Editor her duties are limitless. Amanda also strives to provide exclusive interviews for the readers of Skirts and Scuffs. To read her past columns and interviews click here.. Feel free to contact Amanda viaTwitter. 

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