Everybody was mad at somebody when it was all said and done at Wake County Speedway (NC) on May 8, 2009. With the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Models in town for just the second time, tempers boiled as 25 drivers clashed on the quarter-mile race track. At the end of the night, nearly every driver seemed to leave the race track upset with somebody else.
Only 12 of the 25 starters made it past the halfway point of the Capital City Clash that night, and only six drivers finished on the lead lap. Jay Fogleman won the race over Ben Rowe in a race that also featured current NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney.
A lot of the anger at the end of the night was focused on Preston Peltier, who at that point had won only one PASS race. He’s now the all-time PASS South wins leader with 15 wins and has gone on to win the World Crown 300, the Summer Showdown and the Colorado Challenge Cup. Peltier has gone on to become a great driver and this night was one of his worst in the eyes of competitors, but it helped make him a better racer.
Let's take a look at some of the battles that took place that night.
Round One: Peltier vs. Blaney
Around the one-third mark of the race on a restart, Peltier appeared to miss a shift as Ryan Blaney got to the lead on the outside going into turn one. Going into turn three, Peltier dove low on Blaney, sending Blaney for a ride, which also collected up Ben Rowe.
"I don’t know what Preston was thinking," Rowe said. "I know everyone is mad at him, but you have got to use your head. The #10 car (Blaney) beat him on the restart. Big deal; you're going to have more. He flat ran over him in turn three and caused a big mess."
Peltier was asked after the race what happened on the track. His answers early on in the night were quite short.
"It is what it is," said Peltier. "I banged some people around (and) I got banged around."
Blaney was fairly matter-of-fact with his opinion of the situation.
"We went off in one and two and we had a good run on the high side," said Blaney. "We had Preston going into the corner and he did the same thing he did at Orange County and drove up over the side of us and knocked us out of the way. I don’t know; it’s just racing at Wake County. It’s just tight racing and this is going to happen."
A bit later, Peltier offered up a bit more on his thoughts of Blaney.
"The consensus up and down pit road from everybody was that Blaney was the firecracker out here," said Peltier. "That kid is good. He is 14 years old, and for him to handle this kind of pressure, that is good. Everybody has bad nights. This was his bad night."
Round Two: Peltier vs. Hindman
Around the two-thirds mark of the event, Peltier had a run-in with Heath Hindman. While running in the top five, contact was made, sending Peltier around in turn one. Who was to blame? It depended on which side of the coin you were on.
"We went off down there in turn one and Hindman spun me out," said Peltier. "I don't know what the deal was. He was one of the few people I didn't run into tonight. They said I turned across his nose. I didn't hear "inside" and as far as I knew everything was good. The next thing I knew is I was turned around and can't get the thing fired up and I went a lap down."
Hindman felt he had the position and it was Peltier that wrecked himself.
"I was under Preston and he chopped me off and he wrecked," said Hindman. "He thought I wrecked him. He tried to put me into the inside wall on the back straightaway once, then under caution he run into me. He run into everybody out there and wrecked half the field. He needs to be in a hobby car."
Round Three: Peltier vs. Wakefield
With just a handful of laps remaining, Peltier's next run-in was with Justin Wakefield. Peltier made contact with Wakefield, sending the #98 for a ride.
"He (Wakefield) got run over by Preston, like normal," said Jeff Fultz. "You have the same normal people running over people."
Even though Wakefield didn't address the situation with Peltier, an apology did come from the driver of the #26 for the incident.
"I have to apologize to the #98 (Wakefield)," explained Peltier. "I flat out run him over. I make mistakes like that and I think everyone out here did tonight."
Round Four: Peltier vs. the Foot
When the checkered flag flew, tempers were still high in the pit area. As Peltier drove off the race track and down pit road, he had a run-in with Dustin Golden, a crew member for Heath Hindman's team. Golden claims Peltier ran his foot over - breaking it.
"The #26 of Preston Peltier looked like he wrecked two or three cars out there," said Golden. "Going down into turn one, Heath got a run on him. We had the position and he (Peltier) came down and cut him (Hindman) off and spins us both. Under caution he was banging Heath in the door and pointing at him thinking that we wrecked him when he clearly wrecked us.
"After the race, I was standing in the middle of pit road and threw my hands up. He (Peltier) swerved at me and run over my foot. I guess they are saying it is broke. Then it escalated from there. He could have killed me if it would have knocked me down and he run over me or at least seriously hurt. It made me mad. It is ridiculous that he runs over everyone on the track, then runs over a pedestrian in the pits."
The blame flipped the other direction, according to Peltier.
"We get down here on pit road and as soon as I pull up, that idiot (Golden) kicks the damn right front tire like he is going to do something to it," said Peltier. "That is what hurt his foot. Then he started to come around the car to me and I revved the thing up and lurched forward to let him know to stay right where he was at. Then he proceeded to rip the fender off and dent the whole inside of the car. He wasn't strong enough to rip the roof off. He tried to do that, but it is still intact, and that is a good thing. ARP Bodies are pretty strong."
Round Five: Peltier vs. Jeff Fultz
Some time after the event, Preston Peltier was seen attempting to discuss some issues with Jeff Fultz, but it wasn't about the race that just concluded. Rather, it was about the first race of the 2009 PASS South Season at Dillon Motor Speedway (SC). Fultz didn't want to have anything to do with the conversation, which ended abruptly before anything could get completely solved.
"We had issues at Dillon," said Peltier. "He (Fultz) is saying I ran him over. I never put a fender to him down there, and he swears by it. I have seen video of it and I know exactly what happened. These guys at Pro Photo Productions do a good job. It is clear as day what happened there. I have even had fans come to me and say he flat took me out and it is uncalled for. Well, whatever issues he has with me I want to put it behind. He said it is behind, but he doesn't want to talk right now, which is understandable. Everybody is tense and frustrated right now."
Final Round: Peltier vs. the Rest
After all the contact and all the verbal jabs flying back and forth, some would just think Preston Peltier would pack it in and race elsewhere, but that isn't his style. He will continue to race in the PASS South Series, and doesn't seem too awful bothered by being the "bad boy" of the series.
"I have always been an outsider and I will always be an outsider," said Peltier. "I don't have the money that half of these guys have. We race on a fraction of the budget of most of these other guys do. You can see we do not practice a whole lot and we are always fast. I know what I am doing with these cars. I am not saying I don't make mistakes because I clearly made some mistakes tonight, but I don't think there is anyone out there that didn't make a mistake."
While Speed51.com conducted interviews with Peltier, multiple groups of fans stopped by and gave Peltier congratulations on his run, thanking him for the show he put on. So, while the drivers might be upset with him, the fans backed his style of racing.
"It is a quarter mile, and that is what you get," explained Peltier. "Ultimately we are here for the fans, and I think we put on a good show."
Preston Peltier might have been one of the more aggressive racers on the track at Wake County Speedway Friday, but Ryan Blaney was equally on the end of harsh tongue-lashings from drivers after the race. Blaney had multiple run-ins with other drivers, which caused more than a few tempers to flare.
Devin Jones was running well in the event after a strong showing in practice and qualifying, but after contact with Blaney, Jones was driving frustrated, ended up caving in the nose of his car, ending his day. He was less than pleased with Blaney's on-track actions.
"Going into the main, I was very happy with the car and our whole team was ready for the 150-lap race," said Jones. "We redrew third, which was good. For the first 30 laps or so we were running in the top three, and at one time, getting close to the leader. When Ryan Blaney tried to turn me coming off of turn four, it did not work. Then he doored me and he got by. What goes around comes around. I've got nothing to lose. I'm not in the points."
Probably the most upset at Blaney was Jeff Fultz, who went for a trip into the wall after contact.
Immediately after the race, Fultz was nowhere to be found as he had to go to his rig to calm down. A few hours after the race, he was still not thrilled about the situation.
"We are having issues with kids right now," said Fultz. "Devin (Jones) did a good job. I think he knocked the front end and overheated. But this is two weeks in a row that Ryan (Blaney) has gotten into me and I am done getting run into. Last week at Orange County, I let it go because he is a talented little kid and his Dad is real talented and they are both good friends of mine. Here, Ryan ran up the bottom and doored me in three and four and knocked me up the race track. If I hit someone, I let them back in. That is just the way we race. He doesn't race that way yet, but he will learn it at Jacksonville. I will make sure he learns it real quick.
"My owner and I race to race and have fun, but at the same time, I am not going to get run into. I now have to put a clip on my race car, so I can promise you they will have to put clips on their cars. That is just the way it is going to be. He is going to succeed more than I will and I think he is one good racecar driver, but I saw him run into four people on the race track and finally cut his right front down. I hate it for him, but we work hard on our cars. I didn’t have a mark on my car, and the left side has been caved in two weeks in a row by a young kid."
After Fultz hit the wall, he was making his way back to pit road when it appeared he was going to try and retaliate on the track, but couldn't. After he got out of his car, he walked to Blaney's pit area to give the crew a piece of his mind before walking back to his pit area.
So, what was Blaney's opinion of the situation?
"He (Fultz) twice tried to wreck me," said Blaney. "He ran me into the wall on the backstretch. I don’t know. People said he had his wheel turning left trying to hit me and spin me into the wall.
"We had a really good car. Because I am just 14, I feel like people can just boss us around and try to hit us out of the way. That’s going to happen when you’re just starting out."
Other Racing Events on This Date
1965 - Bobby Allison beat Red Farmer in a NASCAR Modified race at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville. Allison won eight races (by our records) at Nashville with several coming in short events and then a NASCAR East and Cup series race as well.
1965 - Leo Cleary bested Ed Flemke in a Modified event at Norwood Area (MA).
1976 - Bentley Warren raced to an ISMA win at Fullerton Speedway (NY).
1993 - Mike Garvey dominated the Winston All Pro event at Martinsville Speedway (VA). Garvey beat out Jody Ridley, Butch Miller and Freddie Query for the win. This was the first All Pro race at Martinsville. The stop was short lived as the final All Pro race at Martinsville was in 1996.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Correspondent
-Photo credit: Pro All Stars Series / Pro Photo Productions