In the sport of auto racing, the focus is almost always on the cars at the front of the field. The race for the lead gets the bulk of the attention, which then translates into the driver and car that ends up parked in victory lane after the checkered flag.
It’s the easiest way to determine whether or not a racecar driver and his team have achieved success.
But not all success is measured solely on wins, top-fives, and top-tens. Sometimes, it’s the journey you take to get there, the achievements you make, and the amount of fun you have along the way.
Ottawa, Illinois native Tim Richmond made his ARCA Menards Series debut in March at Five Flags Speedway, driving for perennial underdog team owner Wayne Peterson. The Peterson team, one of the last to run a steel-bodied car, a Dodge no less, with a legacy engine, is there every week with its volunteer crew trying to make the best of it.
Richmond, along with his father Dave, breathed some life into Peterson’s team. What was only scheduled to be a short track-only season turned out to be a seventeen-race effort for Richmond. The Richmonds assisted Peterson in upgrading his equipment, with a new-to-the-team trailer and a composite bodied car acquired from Venturini Motorsports.
With previous experience in road racing, the younger Richmond – no relation to the 13-time NASCAR Cup Series winner of the same name – acquitted himself very well throughout the season. In those seventeen starts, Richmond finished among the top fifteen a dozen times. He earned the respect of his competitors as well, not only for not affecting the race at the front of the field in a car that was not quite up to speed, but for hustling Peterson’s car around the track as well as its been hustled over the past handful of seasons. While getting to the finish of races has been a challenge for Peterson’s team over the past several years, Richmond was running at the finish in eleven of his seventeen starts.
Although he wasn’t able to break through and snare a top-ten finish, Richmond was tantalizingly close on a few occasions. He came home a season-best eleventh at Toledo, and finished twelfth at his home race at Chicagoland.
It might have been an unspectacular season for some, but for the Richmond family it was a success in every sense of the word. The main goal before the season started was for the family to come to the track together and have fun, and by that measurement alone it was a success beyond measure. When added with the accomplishments on the racetrack, punctuated by a seventh-place finish in the final ARCA Menards Series championship standings, the season was a true success story for Richmond and his family.
ARCA’s 67th season will come to a close when Christian Eckes will officially be crowned the 36th ARCA Menards Series champion on Saturday, December 14 at the Championship Banquet held at the Indiana State Convention Center, held annually in conjunction with the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show. Tickets to the black tie gala, which are also available to the general public, are on sale now.