Timothy Peters in victory lane at Martinsville Speedway. Barry Nelson (right) enjoys the spoils of victory lane with his driver. Corey Latham Photo

Peters Returns to Victory Lane at Martinsville

At the start of the 2017 season, Timothy Peters was focused on winning his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship with his long-time own Tom DeLoach. After scoring three Top 5 finishes to begin the year, DeLoach was forced to shut down his team due to a lack of sponsorship, leaving Peters without a full-time ride for the rest of the season.

The demise of Red Horse Racing allowed Peters to focus on running more Late Model events with his friend and car owner Barry Nelson, becoming a regular competitor for the 2017 Virginia Late Model Triple Crown Series. After recording two solid finishes at South Boston Speedway and Langley Speedway, Peters continued his success by winning his second ValleyStar Credit Union 300, and clinching the 2017 Virginia Triple Crown in the process.

“This win really means a lot to me,” Peters said. “With the way the year has been, I’ve had to overcome a little bit of adversity, but how you handle it is always important. You have to stay positive and stay on top, but most importantly, you can never lose your faith. I have to thank my team, the fans, and the track for what they did. There will be multiple winners, but there will always be that first winner under the lights.”

Peters rolled off from the grid in the 9th position after finishing third in the first heat race of the evening. Peters initially struggled to keep up with the front row of Jake Crum and Stacy Puryear, who dominated the first half of the race, but Peters caught a break during the first mandatory caution at Lap 100 when the random invert moved him from 5th to 2nd in the running order. Peters wrestled the lead away from Trevor Noles shortly afterwards, allowing him to take control of the race.

Holding the lead proved to be difficult for Peters in the last half of the race, as he faced strong challenges from Trevor Noles, Lee Pulliam and Peyton Sellers, with Pulliam even taking the lead away at one point after Peters got a bad restart. Noles and Sellers continued to pressure Peters during the final 25-lap sprint, but Peters was able to pull away to victory lane when his competition began battling it out for second.

Lee Pulliam, who passed Peyton Sellers for second in the final laps, entered Martinsville searching for his third Martinsville victory. Pulliam struggled to crack the Top 5 early in the race, but once Crum, Puryear and others began having issues, Pulliam emerged as one of Peters’ strongest challengers for the win.

“Coming home second really means a lot to me,” Pulliam said. “We struggled all day yesterday and we changed the suspension, truck arms, shocks, springs before qualifying. We had 3rd to 4th place car and we fought and clawed the whole race for track position. I’m just thankful for all my guys for helping me out, and the first race under the lights at Martinsville will always be special.”

Late Model veteran Peyton Sellers had to overcome adversity throughout the evening, but came up short of his first Martinsville victory. After nearly being swept up in the first big crash of the evening, and encountering electrical problems throughout the race, Sellers rallied back from the tail end of the lead lap to put himself in contention at the end. However, Sellers did not have anything for Peters and was forced to settle for third.

“I definitely would have eased up my entry into the corner trying to protect second place if I had another shot,” Sellers said. “Timothy was checked out there, and I wasn’t able to catch him. It was like a dog chasing a car. If you catch him, what do you do with him?”

Other Late Model veterans and former Martinsville winners were not as fortunate as Sellers. Two-time ValleyStar Credit Union 300 winner Tommy Lemons Jr. was never a factor in the race, and brought his car home in 7th place. Three-time winner Philip Morris and 2016 winner Mike Looney were both caught up in the same accident on Lap 122, and although Morris was able to continue on two laps behind the leader, Looney’s damage was terminal and he finished in the 28th position.

With his victory at Martinsville, Timothy Peters now joins an elite list of drivers who have won the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 multiple times. Peters plans to run a few more Late Model races with Barry Nelson before the year closes out, as well as a Truck race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Young’s Motorsports, but is focused on helping Nelson build up his Late Model program with Brandon Pierce and Bobby McCarty as full-time drivers.

2017 ValleyStar Credit Union 300 Race Unofficial Results:

1. 12 Timothy Peters
2. 5 Lee Pulliam
3. 26 Peyton Sellers
4. 01 Jake Crum
5. 2 Trevor Noles
6. 57A Justin T. Carroll
7. 27 Tommy Lemons Jr.
8. 17 Stacy Puryear
9. 2C Brandon Pierce
10. 02 CE Falk III
11. 25 Derrick Lancaster
12. 22D Grayson Cullather
13. 03 Brenden Queen
14. 2B Myatt Snider
15. 12A Austin Thaxton -1 Lap
16. 01 Philip Morris -2 Laps
17. 2A Dennis Holdren -2 Laps
18. 4 Annabeth Barnes-Crum -8 Laps
19. 15 Kres VanDyke -12 Laps
20. 57 Eddie Johnson -21 Laps
21. 24 Mason Diaz OUT
22. 12B Nick Smith -29 Laps
23. 88 Josh Berry OUT
24. 92 Casey Wyatt OUT
25. 17C Bryan Reedy OUT
26. 77 Trevor Ward OUT
27. 8 Thomas Scott OUT
28. 87 Mike Looney OUT
29. 16 RD Smith OUT
30. 4A Tim Phipps OUT
31. 21A Travis Swaim OUT
32. 22 Bobby McCarty OUT
33. 2D Matt Leicht OUT
34. 18A Jason York OUT
35. 50 Jamey Caudill OUT
36. 77D Blake Stallings OUT
37. 14 Ryan Repko OUT
38. 22C Scott Lancaster OUT
39. 26C Danny Edwards OUT
40. 21 Mike Darne OUT
41. 44 Justin Johnson OUT
42. 12C Ryan Wilson OUT


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Brandon White

Brandon White

Brandon White joined Race22.com in 2017 and is a senior correspondent. White graduated from the University of North Carolina pursuing a career in journalism. Prior to joining Race22.com, he worked with the CARS Tour. He predominantly covers the CARS Tour for Race22.com as well as other races throughout the year.