Late Model Stock Cars

Martinsville winner Timothy Peters overcomes adversity, triumphs at life

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Timothy Peters has it pretty dang good right now and he would be the first one to tell you, too.

Good got better on Saturday night when he won his second ValleyStar Credit Union 300 Late Model Stock race at Martinsville Speedway. But unlike his 2005 triumph, this one will have a lot longer shelf life because it was the first under the track’s new LED lighting system.

“It’s the lights, you know,” Peters said. “If you couldn’t look up and see the stars, you wouldn’t even know that it was dark. Really, really good energy tonight. The lights. Look at the crowd! This is equal to the Truck Series race.

“When the lights go out everyone should be proud. I love short track racing and I love this race more than anything you can possibly think of. That’s pretty cool to win this one.”

But as special as Saturday turned out, Peters didn’t always plan to be in South Virginia. The 37-year-old was racing for a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

He entered 2017 with high expectations, but those were shelved when Red Horse Racing suddenly shut down in May due to a lack of funding. But Peters is the stereotypical racing lifer. Even while at Red Horse, Peters spent his free time at the Nelson Motorsports shop, the Late Model team he founded with Virginia automotive dealer Barry Nelson.

“I just went to work,” Peters said. “I’ve been there every day. This started with Barry and I back in 2013. I feel like we’ve built a powerhouse that goes head to head with Sellers, Lee (Pulliam) and everyone else that you saw in that race tonight. I’m proud of that.”

Peters serves as the team’s general manager and he oversaw a three-team effort over the weekend that included himself, Bobby McCarty, Brandon Pierce. In addition to his race victory and the grandfather clock that comes with it, Peters also collected $35,000 in earnings — 25 for winning the race and another 10 for his Virginia Triple Crown championship.

Again, life is pretty good right now for a driver that lost a chance to race at the highest levels this season.

“This means a lot,” he said. “Especially with kind of the way the year has been with a little bit of adversity. But, how you handle it, staying positive and never losing your faith, that’s what this weekend was about.

“This was special. This was history. There will be many winners but we’re the first ones under the lights in front of this crowd and with MRN Radio calling it. We made history and what a better place than in Barry Nelson, Autos By Nelson’s backyard?”

And Peters isn’t done in NASCAR yet.

He’s monitoring the cost containment procedures NASCAR is hoping to put in place this off-season. He’s going to run the playoff race at Las Vegas this weekend for Young’s Motorsports and he’s hoping to remind people that he’s a championship caliber driver when given the keys to a capable truck.

But even if this year was the end of his NASCAR career, Peters has a powerhouse Late Model team in his backyard and isn’t done winning marquee races by a long shot.

Again, one last time, life is good.

“I have a beautiful family,” he said. “Brantley was here. My wife, Sara. There might be some sting from what happened this summer but they take it away from me. I ain’t got it bad. I hate to stumble over my words but right now, what I’m experiencing, this is a pretty good deal for me.”

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About Matt Weaver

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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