Cherryfield’s Andy Santerre, owner of the Andy Santerre Motorsports team, won’t have Peyton Sellers in his Camping World East Series cars next season.
But Santerre is currently negotiating with a 16-year-old driver from the Midwest to fill the seat.
Santerre preferred not to divulge the driver’s name but said he “races late models and pro stocks” and is a “really good racer.
“He has people eyeing him who want to invest in his future,” added Santerre, noting that it will take approximately $1 million to run the full schedule next season.
“He has definitely chosen us to do the deal. It’s a matter of him finding the [sponsorship] money,” said Santerre, who is optimistic the partnership will become a reality.
Sellers wound up eighth in points in the Camping World East Series but finished with his first win last Sunday at Stafford Motor Speedway (Conn.). That qualified him for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Calif., in January.
He captured three poles and notched five top-five finishes and six top-10s in 13 races. He finished one point out of seventh place and 13 points out of sixth.
“Peyton would have liked to come back but he couldn’t sell the sponsorship for the Camping World East Series,” said Santerre. “He did find some money for the Nationwide Series and is going to run some of those races next season.”
Santerre said Sellers would have finished third in points if his series-opening win hadn’t been taken away due to illegal shocks.
“But there was nobody to blame but ourselves. That put us way behind,” said Santerre, whose team and driver were saddled with “rough luck” this past season.
“We got dumped out of the lead late in a couple of races and we lost our fuel pump at New Hampshire in June,” said Santerre.
If the pending deal doesn’t happen Santerre will seek another driver and sponsorship, but he said he probably would have to lay off his six full-time employees for the time being.
“It’s a tough business right now. Sponsors don’t want to spend money, the economy is bad. Everybody is worrying about their investments,” said Santerre, a former four-time Camping World East Series (formerly Busch East and Busch North) points titlist.
That’s why he’s hoping the current deal will come to fruition.
He considers the 24-year-old Sellers a “great friend” and said he is willing to do “anything I can to help him progress in his career.”
The 40-year-old Santerre didn’t rule out hooking up with Sellers for a race or two in the Camping World Series next season.