Timothy Peters certainly isn’t the flashiest driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series or the most visible. But right now, he is the best, at least in terms of the points.
Peters will be a featured guest on NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Setup on SPEED, Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET from Pocono Speedway, where he’ll compete in the Pennsylvania Mountains 125.
The 31-year-old driver hails from Providence, N.C., a quiet town of about 1,600 not far from the North Carolina-Virginia border and close to Martinsville Speedway.
But don’t let the quiet, country demeanor fool you: Peters is a tough competitor, and having a breakout season driving the No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra for team owner Tom DeLoach.
In the first 10 races of the Truck Series season, Peters’ worst finish is 11th. He won from the pole in Iowa last month and already has posted seven top-five and nine top-10 finishes.
So far this season, Peters has an average finish of 5.2 and has completed all 1,674 laps run in the Truck Series. Impressive stats, to be sure.
Peters comes into the halfway race of the season with a lead of 23 points over Ty Dillon and 30 over Justin Lofton. That doesn’t mean Peters is a lock for the title, certainly, but if he continues his relentless excellence and consistency, he’ll have a huge leg up down the stretch.
As far as Pocono goes, it’s very unique for the Truck Series in that it’s the only 50-lap race run all year, which creates a huge sense of urgency for everyone.
"Fifty laps is a short race — 125 miles — so the race will be over with before you know it,” said Peters. “Business as usual, though. We will go out and get the best finish we can. Butch (Hylton, crew chief) has put a great package underneath me, where I can get in, drive and hustle right from the get-go. My No. 17 Toyota Tundra guys do a great job. It’s more up to me because the trucks are so close now.”
Saturday’s race, which will be televised live on SPEED, will mark the first time the truck teams have raced on the new Pocono surface, which was completed prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here in June.
“I’m excited for Pocono,” said Peters. “This year we have been going to the tracks where our results have not been all that good in the past and we are leaving the track with our best finishes ever. The new pavement will change the ballgame in the garage if anyone had an advantage before. We are all on the same page when we unload. That’s what I am looking forward to.”
Despite the fresh surface, the old challenges at Pocono remain. It’s the only three-turn track that NASCAR’s top series race on, and all three corners are very, very different. Setups become a matter of compromise.
“The groove isn’t widened out so we really have to go,” said Peters. “In the past, you could run bottom, middle and top in Turn 1, but now it seems you can run bottom and a little middle. It’s going to be a chess game. As always, patiently aggressive is going to be key.”
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.