Timothy Peters’ sojourn away from the Camping World Truck Series was considerably shorter than he had anticipated.
When the 37-year-old won at Talladega Superspeedway two weeks ago, he thought it was his last start of the season. He had turned his attention to his remaining Late Model Stock starts at Richmond and Myrtle Beach.
But the victory at NASCAR’s largest track opened the door for at least one more appearance this autumn. GMS Racing revealed on Monday that it had added an entry for the 15-year veteran for this weekend’s Camping World Truck Series event at Martinsville Speedway.
The deal was made possible due to Virginia car dealer Barry Nelson, who owns the Late Models Peters has maintained and driven since his full-time Truck Series career came to an unexpected close last summer when Red Horse Racing shut down.
Both Peters and Nelson call south Virginia home and the partnership was a natural for all parties involved.
"It’s a deal they didn’t have to do, but they made a spot for me," Peters said of the efforts to have him in a truck for Martinsville. "Obviously I had hoped that Talladega would help (with a ride for Martinsville). Nothing is ever easy by any means, but I’m thankful. GMS’ fabrication shop, GMS racing and Chevrolet all made this easier to happen."
Peters’ Talladega win was the 11th in his Truck Series career, but he’s been unable to land a regular ride despite racing for a championship in his final full-time season. But Peters has kept busy, serving as the team general manager for Nelson’s Late Model team.
"It’s cool Barry is going to help me out on our Chevrolet Silverado with Autos By Nelson," Peters said. "Barry has helped me so much professionally and personally since we first met a few years ago."
Peters first linked-up with GMS Racing when it needed a substitute driver for the No. 25 truck once Dalton Sargent left the team following the regular season. He’s made three starts for GMS, resulting in the Talladega victory and a fifth-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
GMS team owner Maury Gallagher told Autoweek after the Talladega victory that he’s always wanted to work with Peters.
"We’ve been racing against him for awhile now and I’ve always thought he was wearing the wrong hat," he said. "It’s nice to get him in the right one. It takes a lot of money and resources to do this, but we definitely enjoy racing with him.
"He has brought a lot to our team in just a short amount of time and we’ll see what the future brings."
For now, the future brings Martinsville, a track Peters has won twice at in a Late Model Stock and once in the NASCAR Truck Series.
"I can’t thank Maury Gallagher (GMS owner) for the confidence he has shown in me and this opportunity," Peters said. "Jerry Baxter and all of the guys on the 25 truck (the group Peters raced with the past three events) are such a big part of my success, of all of this. Without them I certainly wouldn’t be here. This is such a great opportunity and it is so humbling. What still sticks out is that call from Mike Beam (GMS Racing president) to go to Canada … that we could have still been on someone’s mind …"
Chad Norris will serve as crew chief for Peters’ Martinsville entry, which will be the No. 23 Silverado. Norris, who normally heads up the GMS Xfinity Series entry, will bring over crew members from that team for Martinsville. The Xfinity Series is idle this weekend.
"I feel like we will adjust quickly," Peters said of the new combination. "Obviously the laps I have around Martinsville and the success I’ve had there will help, plus the great equipment gives us confidence. Chad has a ton of experience plus the other GMS crew chiefs that will be there. Everybody works so well together; I’m sure we’ll all collaborate well together."
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