Preston Peltier enters this weekend’s 5th Annual Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway Park hungry for a win in the West Coast crown jewel and confident in a brand-new car with help some from new friends.
Preston Peltier will bring a new Rowdy Manufacturing chassis to the Bakersfield, California facility as he pursues his first victory in the $30,000-to-win event. Rowdy Manufacturing president Kyle Busch won this race last season.
Rowdy Manufacturing is the byproduct of a unification between Busch and Justin Oertel, who purchased Hamke Race Car Parts last fall. Peltier, a lifelong support of Hamke’s, will be utilizing the first chassis built by the new Rowdy Manufacturing partnership.
“Obviously, they’ve had a lot of success,” Peltier told Speed51. “We’ve had a lot of success with our program. As much as I hate it, because Robert Hamke is like my second dad, things definitely needed to change. The sport’s changing so fast and evolving so quickly, it’s really tough to keep up. I think he was at a point where he’s getting tired and needs something else to do.
“With that being said, really what attracted us to this deal is just the progression of things,” Peltier continued. “Now that I’ve been a part of it and seen how the stuff’s put together, it’s not going to do anything but make our program stronger. Hopefully this turns into a good relationship between Generator Source Racing and Rowdy Manufacturing.”
Peltier is confident that he can win right away with the new chassis – so much so, he considers anything less than a victory at the Winter Showdown a failure.
“I’ll tell you, a lot of hard work went into this thing,” said Peltier. “Everybody’s expecting big things from the chassis builders all the way to the team guys who assembled it. As far as I’m concerned, anything less than victory is just failure. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I had to fail a lot to get where I’m at. It’s just another chapter.”
However, Peltier’s past results in the Winter Showdown have not met that standard. Peltier finished fifth in the inaugural running of the race in 2015, but has since finished 13th, seventh, and 21st in the race.
“Those times that we did run bad, it was years where we experimented and never got away from what we were trying,” Peltier explained. “You can only beat a dead horse so much, and unfortunately, we just kept trying to make it go and it didn’t work out too good. We had some other years where we were more along the lines of tried-and-true, what we know. Those seem to be better years.”
Peltier is optimistic this year’s new car is closer to the baseline which has given him success over the years than some of the experimental set-ups he has run at times.
“I think the way this car is built is a lot more along the lines of what we’ve done in the past,” said Peltier. “The difference is in the people who put it together and bringing two programs together. It’s almost like bringing a KBM program together with the Generator Source racing program.”
Part of the new partnership with Rowdy Manufacturing includes a new face alongside Peltier at the race track. Cody Glick will work as Peltier’s crew chief for the Winter Showdown. Peltier hopes the two can hit the ground running from a communication standpoint.
“The biggest thing here is Cody’s coming to crew chief this deal,” said Peltier. “That gel factor, the way we communicate with each other. If we can communicate with each other, everything’s going to be fine.”
Peltier believes the new Rowdy Manufacturing car is the piece that can get him to victory lane at a track that has been unkind to him in the past.
“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, but I feel like this place owes us one,” said Peltier. “I hate to say this, because every time we build a new car, we say this is the best piece we’ve ever had. Literally, I don’t know what else we could do to make it any better. I really don’t.”
If there’s one thing Peltier would ask for, it’s time to just run one race ahead of the big payday at Bakersfield.
“When we built the brand-new car two years ago for the Derby and sat on the pole, if I could have had one thing different, I would have had the ability to run that car one time before the big race,” said Peltier. “I might change my mind, but I almost have that same feeling again this weekend. A little bit of time to feel out the little idiosyncrasies and make sure everything is the way that it is.
“Here’s what it boils down to,” Peltier concluded. “I put 100 percent of my faith and trust in Cody that he can get this thing the way that we need it. I believe in it, I believe in him. We’ll see how it plays out.”
Race fans unable to make it to Bakersfield, California for the Winter Showdown will be able to watch a live video stream on the Speed51 Network. All that is needed to watch is a monthly or yearly subscription to the Speed51 Network. Click here to sign up today.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor - Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com