With seven years of Camping World Truck Series racing behind Timothy Peters, he entered 2016 to begin his eighth full-time season, and it may be his best chance to grab his first series championship.
Losing the title by six points in 2012, Peters, 36, now has one point between himself and a four-way shot at the 2016 crown, sitting just behind fourth-place Matt Crafton as the series enters the elimination race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Despite being winless through 21 races, the Red Horse Racing driver has had consistency on his side, earning seven top-5 and 14 top-10 results along with an average finish of 9.3, his best since his near-title run in 2012.
“I honestly think that you can win [the championship] on consistency,” Peters said. “But, on the other side, I think you need to win, too. We just have to put ourselves in position and if we can do that, a win is right around the corner.”
A win in Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 would be special in more ways than one. Not only would it punch his ticket to the inaugural Championship 4 for the Truck Series, but it would end a one-year winless drought dating back to Phoenix last November.
Coming in as the defending race winner, Peters says the team is on track to match its preseason expectations.
“I don’t think we’re behind,” he said. “I think we are all wanting to win. We’ve been consistent across the board and that’s all you can ask for.”
Consistency, however, isn’t the best thing to attract sponsorship. If you’ve paid close attention lately, the No. 17 Toyota Tundra, though usually found in the top 10 each week, has no primary sponsorship.
Peters, who is the lone full-time driver for Red Horse, says the hunt for sponsorship is an ongoing one as he hopes to continue his Truck Series career with the team in 2017.
“We’re always working hard toward [finding sponsors],” he said. “There isn’t a minute that goes by that we’re not doing some sort of work on sponsorship. It’s a lot of work in progress right now and hopefully we’ll have some news sooner than later.
“I hope I’m right here at Red Horse Racing in 2017. I love it here. I’ve been here since 2009, Tom [DeLoach, team owner] and everyone are family to me. I’ve been able to have success here so I want to continue that.”
That has always been the theme of Peters’ career of driving racecars. From the early days of his late father giving him pointers on the racetrack to the year Peters and his wife Sara had their power cut off, racing has always brought the Virginian out of the dark.
Running seven races in the XFINITY Series in 2006 and ’07 for Richard Childress Racing, the Truck Series became Peters’ home. Though he may look back on those times and wonder what could have been, it’s those experiences that have built Peters to the person he is today.
“I started in Trucks in 2005 and ran seven races in XFINITY Series,” he continued, and admitted, “that is a void, the way I look at it. But it made me a better person, personally and racing-wise. I love the trucks. I know the experience I’ve been able to gain across the board in the last 10 years has been something you can’t buy.
“It’s just a lot of grit. This is the roots of the racing. I just love the Truck Series.”
Peters, who may not see himself as a Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday, Jr. or Todd Bodine to today’s young drivers like William Byron and Christopher Bell, Peters’ ultimate goal is to become a Camping World Truck Series champion.
“I’m still learning every time I get out on the racetrack,” he concluded. “Definitely, before my time is up, would like to get that championship that has eluded us.”
About the author
Growing up in Easton, Pa., Zach Catanzareti has grown his auto racing interest from fandom to professional. Joining Frontstretch in 2015, Zach enjoys nothing more than being at the track, having covered his first half-season of 18 races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. With experience behind the wheel, behind the camera and in the media center, he thrives on being an all-around reporter.