Tim Peters has been a top driver in drag racing since he got behind the wheel 18 years ago. No matter what division or class he has competed in, Peters has always been a winner.
The 36-year-old Westminster native started going to the local tracks at 11 to watch his brother, Dave, race. When Tim turned 16, he began to drive and the two brothers worked together to become one of the most respected teams in drag racing.
Peters started his career in 1976 driving a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle in the Street Eliminator Class. He immediately showed he had what it takes to be a winner, making it to the Northeast bracket finals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., in his first year. He made it again to the finals the next two years and in 1978 won the track championship at 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia.
Peters took a leave of absence from racing after his championship year to fulfill family obligations. He married a race fan, Marlene, built a house, started a family and returned to racing in 1984.
He again teamed with his brother, driving a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro in the Heavy Eliminator division. After a couple of years in bracket racing, he began racing in a 1988 Chevrolet Vega in the Super Street Division in national events.
In his first year in 1990, he finished third in Division I competition. A year later he was runner-up. From 1990 to 1992, Peters won four Winston National Invitationals at Rockingham, Maple Grove and New Hampshire raceways.
In 1991, Peters and his brother purchased a dragster. At first he raced the dragster and the Vega. The difference between the two cars was like night and day. The Vega was a heavier, full-bodied car, while the dragster was long and light.
In 1993, Peters started concentrating on the dragster full time in the Dave Bishop Super Comp circuit and finished second in his first year.
"I was first going into the last race," said Peters. "The second-place driver had to win the last race, the Dutch Classic, in order to beat me. He did, and I had to settle for second, 10 points behind."
In 1994, Peters finished fifth, which he still considered a good year because he had cut back on his racing to spend more time with his son's traveling baseball team and daughter's softball team.
"I dragged them around. Now it's time for them to drag me around," joked Peters.
The Peters family enjoys going to the races. But sometimes the four-day national events were difficult on its schedule. Next year Peters will continue to juggle his schedule and spend more time racing closer to home at 75-80.
Although his children are active in other sports, they haven't lost their interest in drag racing. His son, Ryan, and daughter, Melony, have been dropping hints about racing in junior dragsters. If they do, Tim's racing probably will pick up again as well.