When the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season began, Timothy Peters harbored championship aspirations. His optimism was justified.
Fresh off a career-best runner-up points finish last season, the Providence, N.C. native appeared to have all the tools for a run at the 2013 crown with his Red Horse Racing team. However, it became clear fairly quickly that this wouldn’t be Peters’ year to hoist his first championship trophy.
After incidents in three of the season’s first five races, the driver of the No. 17 Toyota ranked 16th in the standings and was mired in a deep hole where championship points were concerned.
Now, with five races left on the 22-race schedule, Peters has risen to sixth in the standings but is a whopping 85 points in arrears of championship leader Matt Crafton. Yet, even with the title for all practical matters out of reach, Peters is notably upbeat heading into Saturday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway and the other remaining events on the 2013 schedule.
“We’d definitely like to be a little higher up in points,” Peters said. “We feel like it’s been one of those years where, the best way to put it is, you can do nothing right. We haven’t had bad trucks. There are two races this year that I would say that we really have missed it, and that’s been Chicago and Rockingham. But other than that, you look at some our finishes throughout the year.
“Yeah, the results aren’t what we wanted to have, but you look at how we were running prior to our bad luck taking place and we were running top five. So, I still give our season an A-plus. It’s not for a lack of effort; I promise you that.”
Despite the slow start and various ups and downs that have followed, Peters has been to Victory Lane twice in 17 events – matching his career-best win total for a single season. His most recent triumph came three weekends ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where the Truck Series last convened. The victory was the seventh of Peters’ truck career but his first of any kind on a mile-and-a-half track.
“It definitely was a big win for us,” said Peters, who cut his teeth racing Late Models around the bullrings of Virginia and North Carolina. “Not only did I check the box for myself in getting my first mile-and-a-half win, but (it was a first for) Red Horse Racing, as well. And it’s a testament to the guys at the shop preparing my Tundras and my teammates’ Tundras week in and week out. The momentum definitely will carry over, even though we’ve been off two weeks. We won both speedway races as a company last year, so we have high hopes going into this weekend, and hopefully we can have a repeat.”
Peters heads to a track in Talladega where he’s never won but has been in contention on more than one occasion. He finished fifth here last fall when then-Red Horse teammate Parker Kligerman scored the victory.
“First-place to 36th has a shot to win,” Peters said of Talladega. “It’s just all about positioning yourself in the right spot at the right time. Definitely, the superspeedway racing is a different challenge because you just have to be very disciplined and know when to go and who to partner up with when you try to go. Talladega allows the two-truck tandem a little bit easier than Daytona, just for the fact that there are sweeping corners. It’s a high-intensity game of chess and you just have to know how to pick and choose your battles.”
On tap after Talladega is Martinsville Speedway – Peters’ home track and a place where he has certainly logged more laps than most of his Truck Series counterparts. In addition to owning a truck win and 10 top-10 finishes in 15 series starts on the Virginia hardtop, Peters is also a winner of the country’s biggest Late Model race held every fall at Martinsville. But the .526-mile oval isn’t the only upcoming venue where Peters feels confident about his chances of getting to Victory Lane.
“This time of year, our momentum or mojo, if you will, usually kind of falls off, and it seems like it’s starting to come on,” Peters said. “We’ve got five really good chances to collect top fives and possibly even a win. So, we’re really optimistic about the rest of our season, even though the beginning didn’t start off too well.”