BELLS, Texas — Most of the folks involved in this wonderful sport we call short track racing do very well to keep track of their own individual programs. With a plate full of life, family and racing, that's enough for most ordinary people to keep them happy.
Yet for 52-year-old racer, car owner and auto dealer Paul Peters, that isn't quite enough. You see, what started as an innocent hobby for one man has now evolved into a 10-car, multi-driver entourage also known as Paul Peters Motor Sports (PPMS).
Peters won the IMCA Stock car points title at Grayson County Speedway last year, earning six wins and 16 top-five finishes in the process. He also finished second in Factory Stock points, although he focuses his efforts for the most part on I-Stock.
“A big factor in our success last year was the help of my good friend and business partner, Mr. Loni Richardson,” Peters said. “I have no mechanical skills, butt I'm involved with racing for the pure love of the sport itself. Loni saw me struggling one night, and offered to maintain the car for me at his shop.
“We've built a great working relationship over the years; he keeps this whole operation going. We've grown together, we own a couple of these race cars together and own a car dealership together, as well. So being able to surround myself with great people really helps. I call Loni the Master Chief.”
Peters got his start in the sport a couple of decades ago before stepping aside to focus on his family.
“Over 20 years ago, I was in this sport for about five seasons,” Peters explained. “At the time, there wasn't enough time and money to support hobbies for both kids and myself, so I got out of it. I've been in the car business since 1993, and one day I bumped into Jason Troutman at the auto auction.
“I asked him if he still had his race car, and he said he did. After we left the auction that day, I had bought a Factory Stock. Back when Frank and Merissa Rose owned Grayson County Speedway, I sold them a truck. They told me they were starting a Factory Stock division, so that's where I landed.”
Back in his first foray into racing, Peters ran a Stock car. He could easily relate to this new class.
“After I bought the car, I hid it away at work for a month. My wife was actually happy I had stepped away from racing. I finally sat down with her and my daughters and confessed to buying a race car. Yet I promised them all I would own was that one car, and we'd haul it with my farm trailer.
“I told them if we got to the track, had a flat tire with the car, we would load it up and go home. Here we are about seven years later, and I own 10 race cars and four drivers. I kind of grew and expanded a little, but I wouldn't be doing it without their support. It's a family-based sport in all aspects for us.”
When the Paul Peters Motor Sports goes racing, it's a pretty big extended family. There are cars and drivers for just about every division.
“Tim Clonch leads the way, with three cars at his disposal,” Peters said. “Tim will drive a Stock Car and Modified, along with a Limited Modified; Loni Richardson, who runs a Stock Car and Sport Mod; Josh Landers, who drives a Sport Mod and a Stock Car; Jarrod Godbey, who runs an Eco Stock for us.
“We also have Morgan Dahne, my daughter Chelsey Barbee and Sherry Clonch (Tim's wife), who all share an Eco Stock, and myself in a Stock Car and Modified. It's a lot of cars and people, but we all have a blast at the track as one happy race team. My wife keeps everybody fed, and I love her for that.”
When Peters puts on his safety suit and gets ready to compete, he straps into a very fine machine.
“My IMCA Stock Car is a Team Richardson Chassis (TRC) car, built by my partner Loni Richardson,” he said. “Loni builds a great car, and his company does an excellent job servicing their customers. I would not have any other chassis underneath me, and I sure value his guidance at the speedway.”
Along with his ever-expanding race team, skilled drivers and top-notch equipment, Peters also has several key people and marketing partners on board with PPMS that make his organization thrive.
“First and foremost, I want to thank the good Lord for giving me the ability to do what I love and help others,” he said. “I also have to thank my wife, Cindy, daughters Kristen and Chelsey; Loni Richardson of TRC Race Cars and his wife, Cindy; Kyle Sanderson at Muddbones, who make the best hamburgers in Texas; Ashley Woodson at Finishline Pizza; Jason Petty of Topp Gunn Auto Auction, Trent Wyrick at TSK Designs for all of his wraps and decals; and RPM Race Engines, who builds our race motors.
“I also need to thank Cindy Peters at Blaze Nutrition in Sherman, Texas; Loni at Team Richardson Auto Sales (my valued partner in business); and Lee Brooks at Pro Custom Cycles in Denison, Texas. I couldn't do any of this without such a supportive family and great partners. I'm blessed to have them.”
There are a couple more important people that Peters feels need to be thanked for their efforts.
“I'd like to take a minute to thank Mark and Ramona Weiss, along with Tommy and Debra Hix with Grayson County Speedway for a great facility where we can race,” he said with added emphasis. “They have helped me with the 'Patsy' Memorial race the last few years, and I truly appreciate it.”
Yes, it seems that Peters and his extended family of racers have a good thing going. As a brand new season draws closer, the driver has some clear goals in mind. Yet there is one thing that must happen.
“We'd really like to go out this year and win a few of those big shows,” he explained. “I think we have the equipment and knowledge it takes to pull it off this year. We're also shooting to defend our track championship at Grayson County, that would be rewarding and satisfying to seal those again.
“But really the main thing for all of us at PPMS is to make sure we have fun. We want to get the best results we can, but at the end of the night it's a hobby and we need to have fun. Times with family and friends at the track are what make life worth living.”
By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
Photo by Debra Hix