News & Media


Peters eyes return trip to Victory Lane 'at home'

April 01, 2011, Mark Aumann, NASCAR.com

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- More in his element, driver says Martinsville reminds him of tracks he grew up on

It's easy to imagine a young Timothy Peters driving on U.S. 220, looking over at Martinsville Speedway and imaging himself winning there.

Four years after making his Camping World Truck Series debut at Martinsville with Bobby Hamilton Racing, Peters did just that, leading the last 94 laps to win the 2009 Kroger 200 by almost two seconds over Todd Bodine.

"My first start in 2005, Bobby told me if you finish on the lead lap with the fenders on it, you'll have a great finish."

--TIMOTHY PETERS

This week has been somewhat of a reunion for Peters, who visited his alma mater, Bartlett Yancey High School, on Tuesday. Now all he needs is another trip to Martinsville's Victory Lane on Saturday to make "old home week" complete.

"I always love coming back to Martinsville," Peters said. "Being at home, I'm more in my element here, because these are the types of tracks I grew up on. The trucks are fun here, it's like a Saturday night shootout. You're door handle to door handle, bumper to bumper."

Peters said Hamilton, who died of cancer in 2007, gave him the best advice possible here: do your darnedest to stay out of trouble.

"My first start in 2005, Bobby told me if you finish on the lead lap with the fenders on it, you'll have a great finish," Peters said. "I just love this place. I had a lot of success in my stock car here. I think we had a bunch of moments where we came up here and didn't finish out of the top five. That just kind of transferred to the truck."

When it comes to turning fast laps at Martinsville, Peters' advice is all about dealing with the flat corners at end of the each straight: Easy in, fast off.

"The biggest thing that I had to learn was not overcharging the corners," Peters said. "With the trucks and the cars, there's not enough load on that left front [tire] and if you get in too deep, you lock up the left front or you end up spinning out, one of the two. It's real finicky. Staying off the curb is a big thing, too. But overall, when they [repaved] the place, it's just got a lot of grip."

But just having a fast truck doesn't necessarily equate to a top-10 finish here, something of which Peters has five. He believes it also takes a quick-thinking crew chief atop the pit box.

"Strategy plays a big role," Peters said. "The crew chief has got to be constantly thinking. The pit road is very critical now. It's hard to pass so I think that's the biggest thing that plays into it. [And because] it's hard to pass, what's understandable is moving people out of the way and beating and banging."

Peters is third in the points, seven behind leader Matt Crafton. The team brings some momentum into Martinsville after a sixth-place finish at Darlington, but that was three weeks ago. During that time, Peters said the team stayed at the shop instead of taking the trucks on the road.

"Obviously we'd like to go test but sometimes off-track testing -- not at the same facility or with a different tire -- you're just kind of shooting in the dark," Peters said. "Our program has stepped up. The results are just starting to show, with our finish at Darlington. The first three races we haven't run badly. We've run really well, in my opinion."

Peters turned 27 laps in the weekend's first practice session with a fast lap of 92.801 mph, good for 18th on the leaderboard. Kevin Harvick's 94.190 mph was the best of the session, edging Ron Hornaday and Sauter. Now Peters is hoping some home-cooking will carry him to another strong run this weekend.

Timothy Peters

Career Totals
YearRankPointsStartsWinsTop5Top10Avg. StartAvg. Finish
20106334325151610.611.7
20098328925151313.712.1
200836743800114.619.5
200774193200120.022.5
20062716721700120.521.6
20052815681600218.621.9

"I love coming here," Peters said. "The track suits my driving style. And I have a lot of fun."