With less than two months remaining until the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, one of the most potent driver-crew chief pairings has been formed for the most prestigious Super Late Model race in the country. Preston Peltier has teamed up with former Snowball Derby-winning crew chief Bond Suss to tackle the 300-lap affair at Five Flags Speedway on December 8.
It is a match made in heaven for the California-born driver now residing in Colorado. After not being able to work together in recent years due to other crew chiefing duties for Suss, the two get to pair up for the biggest race of them all.
“I’ll tell you what, I think both of us are excited. I’ve been friends with Bond for a long time but we’ve never really had the opportunity,” Peltier told Speed51.com. “We’ve had other Crew Chiefs in the past but most of the time we just kind of do our own deal and don’t have somebody.”
It will be a change of scenery for Peltier, who is accustomed to being his own crew chief on race day. He says the reduced duties during Derby week with Suss on board makes it less stressful and gives him what he believes is his best shot at winning the Tom Dawson Trophy.
“When you go to these bigger races, I’ve noticed trying to crew chief from the seat is tough,” he said. “You have enough things to think about just getting around the race track and how am I going to pass this guy or how’s the car handing, on top of what adjustments you’re going to make, what the strategy’s going to be. There’s only so much computing power you have and the more you have to think of particular things, then the less you can think of other things. It’s just something that I’m excited about, I’m really looking forward to having Bond on board. This is going to be our best opportunity right here.”
After crew chiefing for Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Super Late Model team for several years, Bond Suss has worked with multiple drivers in different ways, including as a car owner in 2016 and 2017. In that time, he has worked with drivers such as Dalton Sargeant, Cole Anderson, Kyle Plott, Spencer Davis, Hailie Deegan, Tanner Thorson, and most recently California’s Craig Raudman and North Carolina’s Gracie Trotter. Now he looks forward to working with Peltier at this year’s Snowball Derby.
“He’s a veteran driver, he’s been to a lot of big races, won a lot of big races,” Suss said of Peltier. “He’s been fast at the Derby but he hasn’t been able to clinch the trophy yet, so hopefully I can help him bridge that gap that he’s been missing.”
Already a winner of the Snowball Derby as a crew chief, Suss is looking to add another one to his collection and give Peltier his first Tom Dawson Trophy. He says another Derby win is just as big as the first, whether it be as a driver or a crew chief.
“Fortunately, I’ve been able to win that race a couple times before with some good drivers,” he said. “It’s a big race, the season culminates down there for pretty much everyone in the Super Late Model world. It would be a great way to cap off the year and it’s a huge accomplishment to be able to win that race, whether it be your first time or if you win it a third time.
In addition to support received from his Generator Source team, Peltier will have the added support of a new sponsor on board for the event. Fire Alarm Services has spent several years involved in motorsports, most notably with John Hunter Nemecheck in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series and Xfinity Series. Peltier says the relationship first formed as part of his daily job, and the opportunity to bring them on came in time for the Derby.
“We have been friends and the Generator Source Company itself has some fire suppression systems in our building and those guys service them for us, so we’ve had a relationship with them for a while,” he said. “They’ve known that we race on a national level with the Supers and we’ve talked back and forth about his involvement in motorsports, in NASCAR and even in the lower levels. It was just happened stance that we kind of got our foot in the door that way and formed a relationship.”
Already this season, Peltier has scored big wins in the Summer Showdown at Evergreen Speedway and in the Senator’s Cup Fall Classic at the Bullring at Las Vegas just last weekend, but none would be bigger than in the Snowball Derby. He started on the pole in 2017 and third last year, but both attempts ended with early exits. With a family and the driver getting older, a Snowball Derby win would mean more than it ever has.
“We joke about it all the time here at the shop that if we won the Derby, I’d just go ahead and retire right there in victory lane,” Peltier stated. “I’m not getting any younger, I just turned 42 over the last week and I’ve got two young kids and life is good. Racing takes a lot of time and that’s one thing I don’t want to happen, I don’t want to take any time away from my kids.”
Stay tuned to Speed51.com for more stories and information as we get closer to the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51Photos.com