Austin Peters Currently Eighth in Kingsport NASCAR Whelen Late Model Points

RaceChaser Staff MidSouth 0 Comments

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (June 21, 2013) — Early in the racing season at Kingsport Speedway it seemed as if Austin Peters had used up all of his racing luck in 2012. 

Last year he captured the track NASCAR Whelen All-American Series “Dalton Direct Carpets” Late Model Stock rookie title, and also earned Tennessee State NWAAS Rookie-of-the-Year honors. Peters was the only Late Model Stock competitor to be running when the checkered flag waved in every race last year.

To say the 2013 racing season at “The Concrete Jungle” has been disappointing for Peters would be an understatement, because entering the season he had great expectations. To put it bluntly, this season could be headlined “If it wasn’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.”

Over the first eight races this season, the 21-year-old Peters had been collected in wrecks (none of his own doing) during five events. Instead of concentrating during the week back at the race shop tweaking the setup on the Hedgecock chassis to get it handling better, the RPM Racing team was forced to spend many long hours each night Monday through Thursday just to get the car repaired in order to race on Friday at the .375-mile banked concrete oval.

“Man, it’s just crazy all the bad luck we’ve had this season,” said Peters earlier in the week at the race shop. “It seemed like every race there was a dark cloud hanging above us. You just kind of had that feeling that something was going to happen, and unfortunately for our race team, it did. I guess it would be easier to handle some of what was happening if it had just been stuff I was doing, making mistakes on my own. But that just wasn’t the deal. What’s been so bad are the wrecks. It’s just been a situation of being in the wrong place and getting collected by others wrecking and taking us out and tearing our car up.

“Where everything went really well for us last year, it’s just been complete opposite in 2013. We’ve had more bad luck than good luck, that’s a fact. It’s been really frustrating, and not just because of wrecking. At RPM Racing we have good Bobby Myers Performance Racing Engines, he’s done us a really good job with our motors and over the last couple of years they’ve been really strong and bullet-proof. But for some unexplained reason, earlier in the season we had a major engine issue and for a small team like ours, that was huge losing your main motor.”

The RPM Racing team has their fingers crossed that they’ve experienced all their bad luck for the entire season, because over the past four races Austin has recorded top-10 finishes to move into eighth-place in the Late Model Stock point standings.

“Hey, maybe there is a ray of light at end of the tunnel after all,” said a smiling Peters while reflecting on his tough season. “Have we turned the corner? I don’t know, I guess that remains to be seen. But it’s a fact we’re (race team) all in much better moods here lately than we were early in the season. The deal with getting your equipment torn-up every Friday just wears on you. It gets old having to spend every week fixing your race car. We’ve had four consecutive races with top-10 runs, and that will kind of help boost your confidence. Over the past few races and the solid finishes we’ve had, it’s allowed us to move into eighth-place in the point standings and that’s great. I believe we’re headed in the right direction.

“Racing full-time last year when we earned the rookie title and then the previous couple of seasons when I ran in the Limited (Late Model) Sportsman class at Kingsport Speedway and also over at Lonesome Pine Raceway, I feel like I’ve learned a whole lot. From having my father (Royce Peters) as a racing mentor, plus talking with other guys I race with and hearing things they say, I’ve tried to be kind of like a sponge and soak all the advice up. Each week when I buckle-in to race, it’s a learning experience. We’re finishing top-10 now, and our next goal is to break into the top-five. With the caliber of weekly competition I race against, getting a top-five will be tough. But I’m going to give it my complete 100 percent effort every race. We’ve got about 10 races left this season and my focus each race is to at least finish top-10, and try real hard to get our first top-five.”

RPM Racing owner Royce Peters has made only two Late Model Stock starts in 2013, at the season-opener and then last Friday on Texas Roadhouse Night at the Races. In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series pole qualifying, Royce laid down a fast-lap at 15.504 seconds, while Austin timed-in at 15.506 to place them 11th and 12th, respectively, on the starting grid. During the 60-lap feature, Austin brought the No. 66 Chevrolet SS home in ninth, while Royce wheeled his No. 38 Chevrolet SS to a 12th-place finish.

Royce also has six starts this season driving the Paul Shull-owned No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro in the Street Stock division. He has five fourth-place finishes and one third-place run.

“I’ve kind of stepped back with running the Late Model Stock this year to concentrate on Austin’s racing,” said the 53-year-old Royce, who besides owning RPM Racing also owns East Tennessee Dental Restorations in Kingsport. “Paul (Shull) has given me the opportunity to drive his Street Stock, and it’s a good car. I’ve had a lot of fun racing in that division and I really believe we’re knocking on the door to win us a race.

“We’ve led laps and ran up front, but just little things have kind of hurt our chances. We battled brake issues a couple of races, but still overall I’m quite pleased with how strong we’ve run. In six races we’ve not finished worse than fourth-place, and that right there is showing how good a car I’m driving. Before end of the season, we’re going to win us a race.”

Supporters for RPM Racing drivers Austin Peters and Royce Peters in 2013 include: East Tennessee Dental Restoration in Kingsport, Scott Miller, DDS of Bristol, Va., Apple Shed, UniFirst, Sign Time, Bobby Myers Performance Racing Engines, and Hedgecock (Race Cars) Racing Enterprises.

Besides drivers Royce and Austin Peters, heading up the pit crew for RPM Racing is longtime associate Max Hamilton, along with crew members Scottie Tipton, Jonathan Thomas and Ryan Halverson.

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