2012 Ride: No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota
2012 Primary Sponsors: Strutmasters.com, NTB / Tire Kingdom, Service Central, Toyota
2012 Owners: Tom DeLoach & Jeff Hammond
2012 Crew Chief: Butch Hylton
Stats: 22 races, 2 wins, 10 top 5s, 16 top 10s, 2 poles, 2nd in points.
Best Finish: 1st, twice (Iowa – Spring & Bristol – August).
Average Finish: 8.3.
2012 Team Ranking: 1st of 3. The third RHR Toyota, once manned by John King was shut down for a time over the course of 2012, easily vaulting Peters over it although midsummer replacement Parker Kligerman did a fantastic job. As for Todd Bodine, the third member of this trio bad luck and struggles for funding always seemed to leave the No. 11 team a step behind the No. 17.
High Point: Bristol – August. Anytime you start on the front row, take the lead on Lap 1 and go on to stay in first for all 204 laps of the race I’d call that a pretty good day. It was the most dominant performance in Bristol Camping World Truck Series history, during a modern era of NASCAR where leading every lap of the race happens less often than the Olympics. Kudos to Peters and the No. 17 Toyota for pulling off that rare feat.
Low Point: Homestead. Heading into the season finale, Peters was second in the standings, just 11 points behind eventual champion James Buescher. Buescher himself struggled throughout the race weekend, never up to speed and a 13th-place result provided an opening for either Peters or Ty Dillon to break through. But Red Horse Racing couldn’t get the speed together when it counted. Peters hit the wall hard in practice, qualified a disappointing 14th and struggled to simply keep the leader within sight. Never a contender, despite multiple adjustments it was Dillon putting the pressure on Buescher instead; if not for a late-race wreck, eliminating that No. 3 truck Peters would have fallen to third in points.
Summary: For soft-spoken Timothy Peters, it’s been a slow build towards success in the Truck Series. But one of NASCAR’s more consistent drivers, across all divisions continues to improve every season he steps behind the wheel. In this, his fourth full-time season of competition Peters set a career high with wins (two), points finish (second) and laps led (402). At all types of tracks, from the half-milers to the big superspeedways the No. 17 Toyota was in the mix. Only six times all season did this driver finish outside the top 10; in fact, he never ended the race lower than 22nd. That impressive consistency helped him atop the points for much of the year, leading to his first bona fide championship battle until acquiescing to James Buescher down the stretch.
Some slight improvement is still needed on intermediate tracks: both of Peters’ two victories this season came on ovals 7/8s of a mile or less. But it’s hard to nitpick a season that put Peters on the radar screen with top NASCAR ownership, in the running to land a ride in Nationwide or Cup come 2014 with another strong year.
Off-Track News: This December, Timothy and wife Sara welcomed their first child into the family, a baby boy. Brantley Peters is doing just fine as the Virginia native enjoys a quiet offseason.
2013 Outlook: More of the same from this No. 17 Toyota outfit. In the past four years, Peters has gone from eighth, to sixth, to fifth, to second in points. Will a championship naturally come next? To get there, the biggest obstacle could come in the form of limited teammate feedback. Parker Kligerman, one of the sport’s up and comers has moved on while Todd Bodine needs sponsorship in order to run the No. 11 Truck. In their place comes John Wes Townley, known for being the butt of rich kid jokes rather than consistent, on-track success. Can Townley do enough for this program to keep them from falling behind the multi-truck juggernaut of Turner Motorsports? If Peters has to do it without much help, it’s going to be tough to pass by the fearsome foursome of Buescher, Miguel Paludo, Nelson Piquet, Jr., and even Jeb Burton.
2012 Frontstretch.com Grade: A-.
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