Lucas Oil Speedway Preseason Spotlight: 12 questions with Street Stocks veteran Tim Petty
WHEATLAND, Missouri (February 19, 2019) - After a solid fifth-place finish in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks division last season, Tim Petty of Niangua, Missouri, is looking for bigger things in 2019.
The veteran Ozarks-area racer visited with Lucas Oil Speedway Public Relations Director Lyndal Scranton recently for a session of "12 Questions." Petty talked about how racing is a family sport (wife Trisha, 13-year-daughter Allie and 7-year-old son Bryson join him in the pits), why he likes the full-bodied cars and the reason he selected 22 as his car number:
How would you say the 2018 season went for you overall?
"It was decent. We were hoping for a lot better, but were still trying to work some bugs out with everything. With the car, we made some major changes. It was better, but we still have room for a lot of improvement and really hard going up against some people who have done it for a little longer and have a little better resources than I do."
What have you been doing this winter to get ready for the new season?
"We have totally re-did everything again and made major modifications to the chassis again and changed a bunch of stuff. We're working on a new engine combination to make some more power and just putting a new body on the car and getting it ready to look good for next season."
Street Stock racing has become such a high-quality division and some guys have put a lot of money into their programs. How tough is it to keep up with the competition?
"It is one of the toughest classes to be in. B-Mod is super competitive. The Street Stock class, there is any one of the top 15 cars that can win about anywhere and generally have won somewhere within the state or surrounding states within the year. So, it definitely makes it a challenge and that's part of the reason for running up there for a whole year, to see where I kind of stacked up against them. I've not generally run for points, but last year I decided to. I saw that I still have a lot of room for improvement and learned a lot."
What are your goals for the 2019 season?
"The goals for the new season are build it better and build it faster. Build it more directly to the rules and get everything right at the 'nth degree, like everybody is doing. Make some more changes and, as a driver, step up and make the most of it that I can and try to get hooked up with some people who know as much or more than I do to help out and get it done."
How old are you and how did you get your start in racing?
"I'm 42 and my older brother (Jamey) started racing 25 years ago. I was the last of my brothers to get involved. I'm the middle brother. Funny story, I bought the car that I rode around the race track in when I was seven years old and I raced it for several years. I still have it, tucked away in the garage. It's a family thing for us. We race as a family and we go as a family. Not just me and my family, but my younger brother and older brother. We all go and it's what we do as a family. My first full season was '01, so it'll be 18 years this season that I've been racing."
Was there an influence on you early in your career?
"Jamey is the one who started the whole racing thing for the family Sam is the younger brother and he has a pretty competitive B-Mod. He's won a couple of track championships and was in the top 25 of the USRA points this year. It's a deal that it's what we did. Mom and Dad, when they started dating they went to the races. They got us started and that's what we've done ever since."
Have you always driven Street Stocks and what is the appeal to driving them?
"It used to be Super Stocks when they ran those at Dallas County and Airport Speedway. Then I also had a Midwest Mod I ran as well. I've run that, did a couple of enduro races. If it's got wheels, I'll be more than happy to try and drive it. As far as Street Stocks, just the competitiveness. And they still resemble race cars or street cars. People can relate to them more. I hope and pray people built the bodies that look like actual cars so fans will know what they are looking at when they race. I like full-bodied, full-fender cars. I always have and probably always will."
Do you have some memorable wins over the years?
"About five years ago, I ran 30 races and won over 15, including a win at Lucas Oil Speedway the final points race of the year. Some of the locals took off for a race at Batesville. I started kind of deep in the pack and wound taking the lead and winning on the last lap. That was probably one of the biggest wins - between that and winning at Monett the first time. That's a track that I went to since I was two or three years old. I went to four or five different tracks and won at all of them."
Any significance behind your car number, 22?
"I'm pretty sure that was my high school basketball number. I just kind of carried it over. I always wanted a bright red 22 and it's kind of changed to where it's not-so-red anymore, but I always liked to have a car with a big 22 on the side. I've kind of grown accustomed to it."
Who helps you out in the car on race night or during the week?
"Family. My son helps a lot. The wife and daughter help. We work on it most every night. My brothers both put a lot of time in on it too. We spend a lot of time keeping it going and trying to find more stuff to make it faster and keep it going."
If you weren't racing on weekends in the spring and summer, what would you be doing with that time?
"Truthfully, racing is all I've done. We don't do much more than that. If it doesn't involve cars or motorsports, I'm not into it too much. My daughter will be in high school next year and she plays basketball. Any kind of basketball or sporting event, we go to and we're big supporter of our community."
Any sponsors to give a shout-out to?
"Marshfield Chevrolet. We even have a Marshfield Chevrolet Night at the track where management rents a couple of suites for the employees. Petty Construction and Lube Master, along with Sign FX and Mac's Motor Machine."
The 2019 Lucas Oil Speedway season kicks off March 30 with an open test and tune. The Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series begins April 6 with action in all four of the weekly divisions - Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds, Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods, Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models and O'Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks.
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984