Samuel Peterson can be considered a rising star in track preparation and maintenance. And, accordingly, the third generation drag racer is set to take on an expanded role at US 131 Motorsports Park. The 22-year-old, working alongside his father, US 131 VP of Operations Jason Peterson, Samuel will be responsible for various tasks, including expanding the track’s testing program to optimize track usage on non-competitive event days.

“This is an excellent opportunity for me to continue working with my parents at US 131 Motorsports Park,” Samuel said. “Being the fourth generation in racing presents an incredibly unique advantage. I have deep roots and a love of this sport that continues to grow.”

Samuel has grown up at the drag strip, and along the way his experience has given him valuable insights into ensuring the track’s quality for all participants.

“The big thing is he’s been around the dragstrip all his life, one way or another,” Jason Peterson said. “Truthfully, he knows how everything works but, more important, having been a racer himself, he is very conscientious about making sure things are the best they can be for everyone.” ​

The apple didn’t fall from the tree as Jason, who was an accomplished Pro Modified racer with two national event victories, took over his role at US 131 Motorsports Park some twenty years ago. Samuel’s mother, Stephanie, who oversees publicity, public relations for the track is the daughter of former Rockingham Dragway owner Steve Earwood and the niece of professional driving instructor Terry Earwood.

An accomplished drag racer himself, Samuel has won in the Junior Dragster category in the Midwest Jr. Dragster Series, the PDRA Series, the ADRL Series, and the IHRA Summit Series. Notable wins include the ADRL Spring Drags at Rockingham in 2016 and an IHRA Summit Series race at Darlington.

In 2019, Samuel transitioned to big car events and secured victories at US 131, including the popular Bottom Bulb Bash, driving a 1985 Chevy S-10 truck. Since then, he has dedicated his focus to track preparation and operations. In addition to his work at US 131, Samuel has also served as a track prep specialist for various racing series, including the Mid-West Drag Racing Series, Street Car Takeover, and SICK Summer in 2022.

During his racing career, Samuel met his wife Bailey, a skilled bracket racer. The couple now resides in Plainwell, MI, along with their one-year-old daughter Laiken Grace, and US 131’s unofficial mascot, Tucker, a 175-pound Saint Bernard.

Photo Credit: Straight Line Media