Barry Nelson is a perfect example of the age old statement: "if you're going to do something, do it right."


Case in point: Barry helped revitalize a local baseball program at Patrick Henry Community College a decade or so ago. By doing so, he didn't just hand the school a check. He dove in head first, becoming the team's coach, a post he held for several years as the program grew. Today the Patriots boast one of the top junior college baseball programs in the country.


It was not a surprise when a chance meeting with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Timothy Peters turned into a desire to field a Late Model Stock Car Race Team, Nelson was all in.


Four years later Nelson Motorsports' three-car Late Model team is one of the most successful and respected in the region.


But none of that should come as a surprise. Nelson is no stranger to success. He has built a small family car dealership into "AutosByNelson," a group of seven auto dealerships representing 13 manufacturers in Southern Virginia and North Carolina.


Nelson's secret to success is no secret: hard work, good people, honesty, & fairness.


Nelson has been around racing most of his life. As a teenager he helped some with Perk Brown and the famous No. 45 modified coupe at local tracks, but as an adult, he was so wrapped up in his work and his community endeavors to really get involved in racing. Until meeting Peters at Nelson Toyota, starting a race team hadn't crossed his mind. But his wheels immediately began turning, and the result is the "Hometown Team Nelson Motorsports," which produced some of the biggest Late Model wins in the nation in 2017, including Peters' victory in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway.


"Racing is all about people and I've got the best people," the 61-year-old Nelson said.

 "It's just like athletics. Good people and hard work. After 16 years of coaching baseball, it's almost the same thing."


Nelson is also a big believer in giving back to his community. In 2013, he was awarded Henry County's highest honor, the Jack Dalton Community Service Award, given annually to the Henry County resident who best demonstrates the exemplary community service that marked Dalton's years of public service.


Nelson's list of community service is almost endless, from years of coaching youth sports teams, to sponsoring the Teacher of the Year Award in Henry County and supporting other school districts, to multiple gifts to Patrick Henry Community College amounting to more than $100,000 to sponsoring many charities through his dealerships to founding a chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes at PHCC.


Nelson and his wife Patti have been married for 40 years and have two grown children, Lee and Christina, along with four grandchildren.



Timothy Peters has been the anchor driver for Nelson Motorsports since the beginning, bringing experience, leadership and a winning mindset to the team.

He brought Nelson Motorsports its biggest win ever this fall when he captured the country's richest, most prestigious NASCAR Late Model Stock race in the country - the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway.

In addition to running selected high-profile races, the 37-year-old Peters also serves as general manager of Nelson Motorsports, overseeing day-to-day operations. He doesn't mind getting his hands dirty either as evidenced on race days when he can be found under and around either of the Nelson Motorsports entries turning wrenches.

For a dozen years, Peters has been one of the most competitive drivers on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, picking up 10 victories while driving for Red Horse Racing.

He made the NCWTS inaugural Chase for the Championship in 2016 and was one of the final four drivers racing for the title in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway..

Peters has finished in the top 10 in over half of his 233 truck-series starts.

When Red Horse ceased operations in the middle of the 2017 season, Peters increased his involvement with Nelson Motorsports while running a part-time NCWTS schedule for Young Motorsports.

Peters gave Nelson Motorsports it's first high-profile victory in 2015 when he captured the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. In his first CARS Tour start a year later, he won a 150-lap, $10,000 to win race at Orange County Speedway.

Peters and his wife Sara live near Danville, Virginia with their two young children.


Bobby McCarty


A role as an emergency replacement driver for Nelson Motorsports turned into a Cinderella story for Bobby McCarty, vaulting him into the NASCAR Late Model Stock spotlight.

In the fall of 2017 McCarty was a surprise, last-minute pick as a replacement for Timothy Peters in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway when Peters needed to concentrate on his upcoming NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship finale.

McCarty, who didn't learn of his selection until two days before the race, proved it was a wise choice, winning his heat race and leading laps before being sidelined by a mechanical problem.

At the time he called the opportunity to drive the one-off race for Nelson Motorsports "a dream come true."

That dream became a full dose of reality in 2017. He ran a full season in a Nelson Motorsports entry at South Boston Speedway, winning four times and finishing second in points. In 2018 McCarty drove the full CARS Tour schedule in the Nelson Motorsports hot rod and he proved to be the dominant driver on the tour. He won 4 of 12 having 8 top 5 finishes and finishing inside the top 10 in every race that he entered. This outstanding performance lead him and Nelson Motorsports to the first CARS Tour Championship. In 2019 McCarty validated his dominance by winning a second consecutive CARS Tour championship. Bobby has quickly become the top gun in the Nelson Motorsports stable of drivers.

Prior to joining Nelson Motorsports, McCarty drove for his family-owned Late Model team. In 2016 he had one win and nine top-five finishes at South Boston Speedway.

The 27-year-old McCarty lives in Summerfield, North Carolina.

Jonathan Shafer


Jonathan Shafer is a 15 year old racing prodigy who hails from Ashland Ohio. He started driving quarter midgets when he was only 5 years old so don't let his small statue and young looks fool you. He is experienced beyond his years. Jonathan has won at every level he has raced in and he has now stepped up to join Nelson Motorsports for the full CARS Tour season. We look forward to seeing him continue his winning ways now on the late model stock level. 

Sammy Smith


Sammy Smith, a winner in Legend Cars and a rookie in Late Models, is only 14 years old, but might soon be in need of a bigger trophy case.

After three years competing in Legend Cars, the developmental racing divisions in which current NASCAR superstars Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney got their starts, Smith amassed 31 race victories across eight different racetracks. Traveling between locales such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Worth and Las Vegas, the Des Moines native was no one-track wonder; in 2018, he won the Rookie of the Year Award at Minnesota's Elko Speedway and the championship at Texas Motor Speedway's weeklong Big Top Nationals.

Smith narrowly missed out on a national championship during the 2018 season, finishing second in International Touring points and fourth in INEX points, thanks to a season that included 23 victories and a 3.9-place average finish in 65 starts.

In 2019, Smith turns his attention to Late Model racing, where he's already pocketed a Pro Late Model championship in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.'s World Series of Asphalt and two race victories.

The Three Men Behind The Scenes!

Jeff Cessna, Delano Jack, & Curtis 





    Our Race Team consists of SEVERAL men working day in and day out to make sure our cars are in top shape and ready to hit the track!