Todd Peck intends to leave a legacy, both professional and personal, in his debut Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway this weekend.
[media-credit name=”Photo Credit peckmotorsports.com” align=”alignright” width=”224″][/media-credit]Peck is a family legacy race car driver, as the son of Dr. Mike Peck and the nephew of Tom Peck, both of whom raced their central Pennsylvania family team in the Nationwide Series. Peck’s family team has more than 50 top-10 finishes in five full seasons under their belts.
“Most people get into racing after growing up at the race track and I’m no exception,” Peck said. “My uncle raced dirt in central Pennsylvania for years and progressed into the Busch Series where he and my dad as a team owner had a partnership, racing there for ten years through the mid 90’s.”
“When you’re a kid growing up, you get hooked and you get the bug and your destiny is in the race car,” Peck continued. “That’s all you want to do.”
Peck, hailing from Hanover, PA whose claim to fame is being the home of Utz Potato Chips, started racing go karts at age 14 years. He has continued working his way up the rungs of racing, including 15 starts in the K&N Pro Series East and running currently in the Super Cup Stock Car Series.
This will, however, be the legacy driver’s first ever Truck Series race, as well as his first time ever at Iowa Speedway. He will be piloting the No. 96 Chevrolet race truck for his family-owned team and is clearly using this debut run to attract not only attention, but potential sponsors as well.
“I can’t wait to get to Iowa and debut our team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” Peck said. “We’ve been working toward this weekend since we made the decision at the beginning of the year to race a truck.”
“This is our maiden voyage.”
But even more important than his Truck debut is the personal legacy that Peck hopes to leave, racing in tribute to the Arthritis Foundation’s campaign, ‘Kids Get Arthritis Too.’ It is personal for Peck, who himself was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis (JA) at the age of 15 years old.
“At that age, you don’t think of kids having arthritis,” Peck said. “It’s an old people’s disease that my grandparents have.”
“But there are over 300,000 kids diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis and it’s not as uncommon as you’d think,” Peck continued. “Being as I’ve struggled with it, once we were given the opportunity to perform on the big stage of the Truck Series, it was a no brainer to be involved.”
Peck actually unveiled his race truck at the national JA Conference in Washington, DC last week. Kids, struggling with the same disease that he does, signed their names all over the truck that he will race.
“We did the unveiling at the national JA conference and that was awesome,” Peck said. “Well over five thousand people attended the conference and it was really cool to see the kids’ reaction and excitement.”
“We spent the weekend talking to the kids and their families, sharing stories and inspirational messages,” Peck continued. “Our message was that even though you have JA you can work with it and do what you want to do.”
Peck and his team will also be hosting JA youth and their families at each and every race in which he will compete. In fact, two children with JA and their families will be present for Peck’s Iowa debut.
“For all the races we have, we’ll be hosting families at the track and around the garage area,” Peck said. “We’ll let them get up close and personal to the racing and I’m looking forward to that as well.”
While Peck was touched by every child with JA and their stories, he was especially moved by the story of two children in particular.
Because of complications from their arthritis, these two children were unable to attend the conference. So, their friends made cardboard cut outs of them, using their head shots, pasted them on bodies and laminated them so they could not only be ‘present’ at the event, but to also get ‘their pictures’ taken with the race truck.
“We decided that if they couldn’t be at the conference with the truck, we were going to take them to Iowa for the race,” Peck said. “So we are putting their pictures on the dash of the truck for that race.”
With the children from the Arthritis Foundation on the truck and his family standing behind him as part of his race team, Peck hopes to leave his own legacy in the Coca Cola 200 at Iowa Speedway. At present, however, Peck is not quite sure what that legacy will be.
“I have tried to give myself expectations on one hand,” Peck said. “And I’ve tried to keep myself from having expectations on the other hand.”
“We tested and I was extremely pleased with the Truck,” Peck continued. “But just to get the ball rolling and get out there, part of me says I need to stay realistic, qualify and run hard to get a foot hold for the next race.”
“But the other part of me, the racer, knows that once the green flag drops, it will be about three seconds into the race that I’ll forget about that, put it into kill mode and away we go,” Peck continued. “No matter what I expect, once the green flag drops, it’s an all or nothing deal.”