His dad got out of racing when Peaco was eight years old and Skooter started playing baseball and football. He played football in high school and later was a center on legendary coach Larry Kehres’ first team at Mount Union (Ohio) College, which has since gone on to win a record 13 NCAA Division III National Championships. RETURN TO THE TRACK Peaco got back into racing as a freshman in college. Family friend and neighbor, Carl Baker, the former IHRA Pro Stock star, had a 1956 Chevrolet station wagon, which Peaco drove, but didn’t race frequently until years later. The station wagon wasn’t very competitive in the class racing which Peaco did. He switched to a Pro Stock- style Chevy S-10 truck which he drove to the 2002 IHRA Division 3 Hot Rod championship. Peaco eventually sold the truck to Mark Horton, who went on to win several races. RACING INSTEAD OF THE NBA As a sports marketing and business major at Mount Union, Peaco was about to take his senior-year internship with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers when his father suggested he instead talk to Norwalk Raceway President Bill Bader. His father’s idea was Skooter would learn from the actual track owner instead of just selling tickets or handing out merchandise for a game-day promotion. It gave Peaco a true hands-on feel of what it takes to run a track, how much time is involved and an appreciation for the track operators. “There were only three full-time people who worked there and the owner and his wife were two of the three,” Peaco said. “I went in thinking it was a normal business where everyone got off at 5. You see all these people at the track on weekends and you think they’re there full- time. I soon learned it’s about 100 hours per week, every week from April 1 to October 31.” REACHING THE SUMMIT Peaco became a full-time employee at Norwalk and worked there for seven years and countless hours until his wife gave him the ultimatum to either choose her or race track. He called some friends at Summit Racing Equipment looking for a sales job when another opportunity arose to become their motorsports manager. “Once I got there, we put together the IHRA Summit SuperSeries and the NHRA Racing Series which both still live today,” he said. “We did three national events with NHRA and sponsored multiple IHRA cars. You look today and the IHRA Summit SuperSeries is still the No. 1 racing program for sportsman racers by far.” IHRA, PAST AND PRESENT Peaco reunited with his old boss when Bader was named IHRA President. It wasn’t long afterwards in 2003 when Peaco was named Director of Race Operations. He was later promoted to Vice President, a role which he has served through multiple ownership changes. Working in the Norwalk office, Peaco credits his support staff which includes Senior Director of Competition Mike Baker, Division Directors Jon O’Neal, Josh Peake and Frank Kohutek, and Special Advisor for Track Development Phil Gingerich for helping to navigate IHRA through the good times and bad times. “Those guys are the heartbeat, the nucleus of IHRA,” Peaco said. “Those from the outside don’t see the work that Mike Baker has done with the rules. But, the racers know if Mike says, ‘It’s got to be X-Y-Z,’ then it’s got to be X-Y-Z. They don’t see the work, the hours and hours that Jonny and the other DD’s spend on the phone with tracks. “It comes down to the relationships those guys have why we still have nearly 100 tracks. They are some of the best ever at what they do in the industry.” “I remember being pulled out of school where you would grab your homework and load up the van and off you would go to Tucson or Maryland or who knows where.” 21