Timothy Peters has always had a good feeling headed into a race at Martinsville Speedway. He’s never felt as good, though, as he is headed into the Kroger 250 Camping World Truck Series race in two weeks.
The historic Virginia oval is Peters’ home track, so of course he should feel a bit of confidence. And there are the two wins he has at Martinsville, one in the Kroger 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in 2009 and the other in the big season-ending Late Model Stock race in 2005.
“It’s no secret how much I love Martinsville,” said Peters during an off week before the Kroger 250 on April 2 and the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 on April 3.
There could be even more love going around this time, thanks to the addition of veteran crew chief Butch Hylton to Peters’ Red Horse Racing Team in the off season. The two have had pretty fair success at Martinsville the past couple of seasons. Peters won the Kroger 200 in the fall of 2009. Hylton was on the pit box for both Martinsville truck series winners in 2010, Kevin Harvick in the spring and Ron Hornaday in the fall.
“With Butch working with me after being at Harvick (Kevin Harvick Incorporated) the past two seasons, it’s helped me a lot. He’s done so much to improve our equipment,” Peters. “Butch and I spent one whole day this week going over his notes and my notes from Martinsville back to 2009. Hopefully that will all help some.”
Peters had mixed results at Martinsville a year ago on his way to a sixth-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings. He finished fourth in the Kroger 250 and wound up wrecking out in the fall.
“There’s always a lot of pressure at Martinsville because it’s home and because we run well there. But after last year, I’ve tried to relax that pressure a little bit coming in there,” said Peters.
Peters is off to a consistent if not flashy start to the 2011 season. He was 11th in the season-opener at Daytona, 12th the following week at Phoenix and sixth at Darlington last Saturday night. He’s third in the points headed to Martinsville on April 2 in what is an amazingly tight points race. Just nine points separate leader Matt Crafton and fifth place Johnny Sauter. Peters is seven points back.
“We’ve been consistent. Phoenix should have been better, but I tried to put the truck somewhere I shouldn’t have and wound up spinning through the grass,” said Peters. “But we’re still in pretty good shape in the points.
“The points are tight and are going to get tighter as the season goes on. With the new points system it keeps the window of error really small. You really can’t afford to have that bad day.”
And a bad day is something Peters doesn’t expect at Martinsville.
Martinsville Speedway PR