WESTBROOK, Maine – John Peters isn’t one to rest on his laurels, despite a couple of notable accomplishments already in his young racing career.
Peters, 16, of Westbrook, Maine, will compete on the Amsoil NELCAR Legends Tour in 2013, one season removed from becoming the youngest champion in Beech Ridge Motor Speedway’s 65-year history and making his NELCAR debut at the track in September.
“There’s the Facebook page with the old Beech Ridge pictures and stuff on it,” said Peters, who won the track’s Beetle Bug JV championship in his rookie season. “You look at all the things that are on there, and I try and think to myself, ‘How do I fit into all of that?’ Putting all the pieces of the puzzle together, it’s pretty neat and it’s started to sink in.
“It’s not like I’m going to retire now or anything, but it’s pretty cool.”
Peters certainly won’t retire – in fact, he’s set to tackle his most ambitious schedule to date. He’ll run approximately 25 Legends races in the new No. 51 Cash For Clunkers/Digby’s Variety/Traxside Coupe, including the full 10-race VIP Thursday Thunder series at Beech Ridge.
After making his Tour debut last season with a Top-10 finish in his first time in a Legend, he’s excited about seeing what he can accomplish with a full season in the division.
“I’m not sure totally what to expect,” Peters said. “I know I’d like to win a race. That’s the big one. We’ve got 25 races to try and do that. I think we showed last year that we’re knowledgeable enough and have enough (racing) experience to be able to do that.
“I’d like to win a race and be competitive every week.”
It was trial-by-fire for Peters in the Legends ranks last autumn, when after just a few practice sessions during PASS 400 weekend at Beech Ridge, he qualified and competed in a 50-lap main event – the longest of the season on the NELCAR schedule.
That time in the car, however, helped accelerate a steep learning curve out of the entry-level four-cylinder class and into the touring Legends division.
“It’s a bigger transition than most people realize,” Peters said. “The first practice we had at Beech Ridge, it was my first time in the car and I was out there with other drivers. I stepped on the gas, and it wasn’t even close to what I expected.
“Having those two races (last year) and having the chance just to get into the car was huge. If I was to come into it on April 6 (for the NELCAR opener at Wiscasset Speedway) without having last year – if that first practice was my adjustment period – I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now.”
Peters’ father, Greg Peters, will crew chief the car. Peters is also relying on support from Derek Kneeland, a Maine racing graduate who is now the full-time spotter for Juan Pablo Montoya in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“I really want to thank Derek for all his help and support,” Peters said.
The NELCAR season kicks off on April 6 at Wiscasset, while VIP Thursday Thunder begins June 13 at Beech Ridge.