Meet the owner

California native, Gary Peterson, Peterson has been racing most of his life. He began his career racing motocross. From there, he moved up to single seat race cars with Score Int., participating throughout the Western United States and Baja, Mexico, including well-known events like the Mint 400, Baja 500 and 1000. After a chance meeting with Louie Unser (brother of Al and Bobby Unser), who encouraged Peterson to try his hand at open wheel racing, Peterson joined the Bosch Super Vee Series. After several years racing Super Vee, he made his way to the Pro Atlantics Series, which later became Toyota Atlantics.


Peterson watched as over the years many drivers became grounded due to lack of funding, so he founded one of the nation’s most successful fire sprinkler companies, Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. in order to financially assist him in pursuing his passion for racing. His corporate success has enabled him to enjoy decades of racing. He has also utilized racing as an advertising and client hospitality platform for Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc.


Peterson has been involved with the IndyCar Series (formerly known as the Indy Racing League or IRL) since 1997. He participated in the very first event, the Test in the West, to obtain his IndyCar license. Peterson was one of the first drivers asked to join the Indy Pro Series (now known as Firestone Indy Lights/FIL). After the inaugural season, Peterson was approached with sponsorship and driver offers, so he created AFS Racing. Since its inception, AFS Racing has earned over 40 top-five finishes in the FIL and won the series championships in 2008 and 2009 while aligned with Andretti Autosport. Since retiring as a driver and transitioning to a team ownership role, Peterson has become known as mentor for young, talented drivers. He has a unique eye for upcoming talent and has played a part in the careers of drivers such as Alex Lloyd, Raphael ‘Rafa’ Matos, J.R. Hilderbrand, Charlie Kimball, Martin Plowman, Wade Cunningham, Sebastian Saavedra, long-time family friend Arie Luynedyk Jr. and many others. Peterson’s proudest moments, besides the back-to-back championship wins, have been Alex Lloyd’s win in the inaugural Liberty Challenge race of 2006 and Sebastian Saavedra’s award for fastest car of the day during practices for the 2012 Indy 500.


Over the years, Peterson and his team, AFS Racing, has participated in numerous IndyCar events, including the Indy 500. Today, AFS Racing is proud to be running Sebastian Saavedra in the # 17 IndyCar Series KV/AFS Racing entry.