Tim Peters is on a hot streak.
It's a winning streak that could take him to the Divisional Championship at the Spring Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, in June.
The 33-year-old Westminster resident recently earned $1,200 by winning the Super Street Class at the Northeast Divisional in the FirstState Pepsi Open National at U.S. 13 Dragway in Delmar, Del.
By virtue of his win, Peters is currently in first place by 100 points inthe TRW Division I point standings as he prepares to go to the May 3-5 finals at Englishtown, N.J. If he wins or does better than his nearest challenger, he will represent Division I at the Spring Nationals.
His chances look good. If he makes it to the nationals, Peters will compete against winners from six other divisions throughout the country and the champion from last year. The eight drivers will be racing for $4,500.
His quick reflexes and his smooth running 1977 Chevrolet Vega have won three of the last four Division I competitions. Before his trip to Englishtown, Peters will stay in tune by running in the Southeast Division II race at Rockingham, N.C., April 12-14.
No doubt Peters is a good driver, but behind every good driver is a good crew. Tim's car is owned by his brother, Dave Peters, and Bruce Combs, both of Westminster.
They make the car run, then it's Tim'sjob to hit the starting light in minimum time. From the results to date, all three have been doing their job.
So well, in fact, that Combs and Tim Peters purchased a new Super Comp Dragster toward the end of last year.
"I always wanted to run national events," said Tim. "Now I will be able to with the dragster."
But first Tim must concentrate on the divisional championship.
No one knows better thanTim that it will take time to adjust to the Super Comp dragster and get to the level he has achieved in the Super Street Class.
"I plan on gradually going into it," said Tim. "It will take me a while to get used to the car.
"There is a big difference, especially when you start. The Super Comp throws you back against the seat."
The silver blue Vega that Tim hopes will take him to the divisional championships is similar to the super comp category, but features full-bodied American production cars with full fenders, hood, grill, top windshield and functional doors. This class, which runs only at the divisional racing level, runs on a 10.90 second standard and no break-out allowed below 10.90 seconds. Tim's Vega reaches 125 mph at the end of the quarter-mile.
The Super Comp runs on a 8.90 second standard with no break-out allowed. The S&W dragster Tim drives will reach 150 mph.
The power plants are also different in the two cars. The Vega has a 400-cubic-inch Chevrolet small block that cranks out 450 horsepower. The dragster has a 454-cubic-inch Chevrolet that turns out more than 600 horsepower.
Another difference between the two cars is the cost. The Vega has nearly $13,000 invested in it, the dragster has more than twice that amount.
Even a veteran driver like Tim was nervous on his first run in the dragster.
"I made the first run at Maryland International Raceway at Budds Creek toward the end of last year," recalled Tim. "The track is a little rough, so it made my car bounce around. I didn't know what to expect. "
Tim is gradually becoming accustomed to the different handling characteristics of his dragster. With each run he gains more confidence. It won't be long before he will have the Super Comp car competing for the championship.
Tim started going to 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia, Frederick County, with his brothers in the early 1970s. Tim has five brothers and four of them have raced at one time or another. He tagged along with them fora few years.
When he was 18, he began to race in the Street Eliminator Class with his own 1970 Chevelle.
He came into his own in the late 1970s, when he made it to the bracket finals for three consecutive years. In 1978, he was the track champion in his class at 75-80.
In 1980, Tim went into semi-retirement for four years after he married Marlene. In 1984, Dave Peters asked Tim to drive a 1984 Camaro.
With the support of his wife, Tim returned to racing. He drove the Camaro for four years before his brother and Combs asked him to drive the Vega.
Tim was delighted. The timing couldn't have been better. Tim wasn't satisfied with his racing career and wanted to move up.
Now in his third year in the Vega, Tim is near a Division I championship.
Four of Tim's brothers are still involved in drag racing. Ronnie is driving the 1967 Camaro that Dave used to race. Danny has been driving since 1983 and drives a 72 Chevelle. Both men drive inthe Heavy Eliminator Class II Division.
Tim's wife and their two children, Ryan and Melony, attend the races, too. Now that the children are in school, they can't go to every meet until summer break.
Tim is a custom homebuilder during the week and has his own business, UGC Custom Builders. Combs has his own business too, Combs Drywall in Westminster.
The other sponsor is Peters Body Shop in Reisterstown, owned by Dave and Ronnie Peters.