The fifth running of the Chilly Willy 150 at Tucson Speedway (AZ) featured numerous players among the 36-car field showing their hand at different stages of the event. In the end, the cream rose to the top, as front row starters Preston Peltier and Chris Eggleston battled with every ounce of energy they had.
An eight lap dash to the finish set up a duel for the ages between the two Colorado residents. They leaned off each other on the restart, touching and rubbing door to door on the ensuing circuits. With one last ditch effort in the final corners of the last lap by Peltier, Eggleston edged him for the $10,000 victory by 0.127 seconds.
Not only was bettering a proven winner of past major Super Late Model races a feat in itself to the Thornton, Colorado driver, there was something a little more unique about this one.
“The thing that makes this win so dang special is it’s me, my good friend George Green, and my dad Mike Eggleston,” the 28-year-old told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It’s the three of us; our hard work. We all work 60 hours a week at our day jobs and barely get up to the race shop, but we pour our hearts and soul into this racecar.”
While they battled hard, Eggleston knew in the back of his mind that if the car went on the wrecker he would not be racing next weekend. Luckily, any battle scars were merely cosmetic and instead provides a tremendous amount of momentum going into this coming Saturday’s Winter Showdown.
“First thing I’m going to do when I get home with that 10 grand is probably buy a new wrap because Preston did that,” Eggleston quipped. “It’s not going to look the best at Kern, I’ll tell you that, but I sure hope it’s just as fast.”
While Tucson has been kind to Eggleston via a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and the most recent Turkey Shoot 125 victory, there was still some unfinished business at the 3/8-mile.
“It’s going to make me sleep a little better tonight because, holy freaking cow, I feel like the Chilly Willy owed me one,” Eggleston explained. “We won here, so I thought, at the first Chilly Willy that they had but due to a scoring issue I got credited for second.”
Although he came up short in this one, Peltier was satisfied with having the opportunity to have a shot in the closing laps.
“Early in the race I was on the bottom a lot and I kind of hurt my right front tire because it got a little snug there at the end,” the Brighton, Colorado resident noted. “Man, I did everything but wreck him. I gave him everything I had.”
One close call late in the race had an adverse effect from what most witnessing the battle may have thought.
“Probably the best thing that happened to me was getting loose up off of two with a couple to go,” Peltier said. “It actually helped because it overheated those rear tires and let that thing turn a little bit.”
The biggest rally of the evening and perhaps the weekend was from California’s Linny White. The former winner in the prestigious Fall Classic at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway brought a new car to Tucson and backed his car into the corner wall, thus bending the rear clip.
After a late night rebuild, White climbed from 33rd starting position to within the top 10 in the first 50 laps. He would continue his forward motion to a podium result.
“I couldn’t have done it without any of my guys,” White thankfully remarked. “And without the staff here at the facility to make my whole weekend a little bit easier after struggling all weekend.”
For Eggleston, a winner of other major Super Late Model events such as the final race to-date at the famed North Wilkesboro Speedway in 2011, it was a memorable night that was shared with those close to him.
“This is definitely probably the biggest win I’ve ever had as far as being with my family. Man, finally got one of those big checks. I’ll tell you what, that’s awesome.”
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Fifth Annual Chilly Willy 150 Results
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