Racing to make Christmas brighter for Carter County children

Published 11:36 am Wednesday, July 19, 2023

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When it comes to racing, Carter County resident Frank Peters knows something about taking a car around an oval track not knowing what the next curve or straightaway might hold.

In many ways it resembles life in the fact that sometimes you are running full speed and all of a sudden something happens that slams one into a wall with a bleak outlook of ever getting back on track.

Peters has been racing at Kingsport Speedway in the Pure Four Division which is for four-cylinder cars driving a Honda Prelude for the last five years. His car is sponsored by Tom Taylor Sports and Motor Mile Tires and carries the lucky number ‘7’ on the side.

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He also serves as a School Resource Officer for the Carter County Sheriff’s Office in a part-time role for the last three years.

This is where as Paul Harvey would say the rest of the story comes into play.

“Last year I was at the elementary school and when I got up there with the kids and I got to see exactly what was going on, I began to see that we have a lot of needy kids in this area,” said Peters. “I didn’t understand it and I didn’t realize that we had that many and I remember Christmas coming around and you had some of the kids coming in talking about what they had got for Christmas and you had some that just stood away and didn’t say much and you could tell. This is a high-poverty area.”

Peters has in his own words had a “rough year” when it comes to racing after having built a brand new car which has been struggling to get running with speed and other issues. Regardless, Peters now sits in 11th place out of 30 cars in the points standing but as a driver he always wants to do better to be more competitive.

“I always get upset after the races you know thinking poor pitiful me and she (wife – Angie Peters) always says you know we won because you finished the race, you got to pull the car on the trailer and didn’t get hurt, and we get to come home so that’s a win,” Peters said.

With that in mind, he began thinking that he needed to do something to use his racing to help somebody else.

“I started to think about the Shop With A Cop program,” Peters said. “The last few years, when they have done Shop With A Cop, they were limited to what they could do and how many people they could actually take that would benefit from this.

“So, I got with the sheriff and talked with him about getting a fundraiser going and we could use our car to raise money for the Shop With A Cop and he thought that would be a great idea. I started to work on it and went to the speedway and talked with the management at the speedway and proposed to them what we wanted to do. I shared with them that we wanted to use this to raise funds and that we were limited in funds over here and that we had a huge need for it. They were all for it.”

With that in mind, a plan quickly came together and it was decided that the Friday, August 11 race would be ran for the Shop With A Cop program for Carter County.

“They are going to advertise it and what we are trying to do is raise funds,” Peters said. “We encourage everyone to give because every penny we get is going to Shop With A Cop. Whatever funds we get will be donated. The speedway is going to allow our officers to come over plus we have a media team with a business in Johnson City that is helping out with this. We are going to take up donations there and we are also trying to set up an online link now where donations can be taken online or businesses can participate with checks. We are in the process of getting that finalized.”

Peters hopes the event will raise a large amount of money which can make a difference in the lives of children at Christmas. The money raised will stay in Carter County. He added that businesses and individuals that wanted to donate could make a check out to the Carter County Sheriff’s Department Auxiliary.

He is very appreciative of the fact that the management at Kingsport Speedway was willing to cooperate to make the event possible.

“The track has been gracious enough to partner with us as well as some of the drivers,” Peters said. “We would love to get enough money to operate it this year and next. Last year, some of the officers were reaching into their pockets to try and help the kids.

“After all, this is all about the kids.”