A distance of 2,294 miles and three time zones separated Timothy Peters from Dillon, South Carolina after he finished 16th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday night.
Yet he was still at Dillon Motor Speedway, the 4/10-mile oval in the Pee Dee region of the Palmetto State, by Saturday morning to compete in the season opener for the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Late Model Stock Tour that afternoon. He sat on the pole and turned in a fifth-place finish in the 125-lap main event behind the wheel of his No. 2 Autos by Nelson Chevrolet Camaro from the Nelson Motorsports stable.
Racers find a way.
“We already had a ride set up coming back on the team plane,” said the Danville, Virginia, native after the driver’s meeting at Dillon on Saturday. “So, I knew that I could make it back, I just wasn’t going to get much sleep. But I’m a racer, this is what I want to do.”
He proved his racing mettle throughout the Black’s Tire 125, spending much of it in the runner-up spot and battling Layne Riggs for the lead for more than 20 laps near the mid-portion of the race. Several times he pulled door-to-door on the inside but was unable to make the pass. The race’s sole caution on Lap 92 put him alongside Riggs for the restart, but an oil leak forced Peters to lose traction and he fought his car up the hill in Turns one and two, costing him valuable track position. Still, he battled back and came home with a top-five result.
An 11-time winner in the Truck Series, Peters had turned his primary attention to Late Model Stocks over the past few seasons after truck operation Red Horse Racing disbanded in 2017. He had made spot truck starts for the last three and half years, but is back competing full-time in the series in 2021, driving the No 25 Chevrolet Silverado for Rackley W.A.R.. The operation is a new team owned by Willie Allen and Curtis Sutton.
While Peters is unsure about the number of Late Model Stock races he’ll be able to take part in this year, he remains committed to the team he formed with car dealer Barry Nelson in 2013. The two have become extremely close in the near decade they have spent together.
“The Late Model Stock is what has molded me,” Peters said. “I try to do both at 100 percent, and I feel like this right here makes you better when you can’t run the truck. And the truck helps me with this. When it’s all said and done it’s a lot of great people that’s involved with both race teams.”
Peters has won some of the biggest prizes in the Late Model Stock ranks, including the VallleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway in 2005 and 2017, and is a threat for the victory each time he straps in.
Going into 2021, however, he and his team are looking to find more consistency.
“We won some races, but were very inconsistent,” Peters said of last season. “Barry is very passionate about everything that he does, and we do it 100 percent. “We wanted to try to work hard to get our product better.”
Nelson Motorsports scored two top-10 finishes at Dillon, with Peters’ teammate Bobby McCarty coming home in the eighth spot. McCarty also shook down Peters’ car during practice sessions on Friday while Timothy was preparing for the Las Vegas event.
Although he is a veteran of both the short track ranks and a national series, Peters believes more seat time is always beneficial. Despite the vehicles he raced in less than 24 hours on opposite sides of the country being noticeably different in several setup areas, he notes the principles are the same.
“The fundamentals between both very much coincide,” he said.
This weekend, he proved it on two coasts.
Cover photo by Bridger Swinimer.