Preston Peltier brought a car to the 7th Annual Summer Showdown that was completely different from the one he won with the year before. After tuning on it throughout Thursday’s open practice session at Evergreen Speedway (WA), the Brighton, Colorado resident commented that his Super Late Model was “pretty dang good.”
Those adjustments parlayed into a stellar run during Sunday’s 200-lap event, in which Peltier ran no worse than fourth on his way to becoming the first driver to capture the $25,000 check twice.
“This was one of the most relaxed fun weekends I’ve had in a long time racing,” Peltier, whose team members for the event mainly hailed from Idaho with a couple crew members traveling from the east coast, told Speed51.com. “I’ve got to thank all of my crew. I couldn’t do it without them. They trust me, put me in this car and expect me to perform. It feels good to get it done for them.”
Despite leading a vast majority of the distance, Peltier was not home free by any means on many restarts and green flag runs. One contender after another would fall by the wayside though.
Fast qualifier Owen Riddle led early but began to fall back, ultimately calling it a day at the break when the team found an issue with the rear end. Younger brother Tayler Riddle began to pick up the pace before he suddenly slowed from second due to an alternator wire breaking off and shorting out.
Perhaps Peltier’s biggest contender in the second half of the race was Jeremy Doss, a driver that the 40-year-old has come to respect and share notes with in recent years.
“He’s a good hard racer and that’s what we’re after,” Peltier commented. “We don’t want to make it easy on ourselves. I want to race the best of the best all of the time all over the country.”
The final restart with less than 20 laps to go had one last challenger, third-place finisher from 2017, Chris Davidson. Unfortunately, the Pearland, Texas racer was unable to capitalize on the opportunity and had to settle for runner-up on this day.
“Not quite good enough, it’s pretty simple,” Davidson indicated. “We had a fair chance to outrun him when we went green and we didn’t get it done. He was just a little bit better. It was everything we had.”
Nevertheless, the veteran driver had no complaints despite coming up second and applauded his crew, which includes legendary Late Model racer Mike Garvey.
“We wouldn’t be here without him,” Davidson added. “He is a whole bunch of what makes this work.”
Upon grabbing his second straight Summer Showdown trophy and becoming the first repeat winner in the event, Peltier relied on some advice from the 2015 winner prior to the weekend.
“Bubba (Pollard) told me back at Berlin two weeks ago to go back to what I was doing at the Derby and that’s what we did,” Peltier noted. “This thing is just incredible.”
The last piece to the puzzle was not necessarily within the racecar, but instead with his daughter Jocelyn, whose name they wrote the big check out to in victory lane.
“She’s my good luck charm,” Peltier proudly said. “Last time she was at a race, we won, so I think I’m going to have to start bringing her more often.”
Taking third in the final finishing order was the best performing local driver, Mark Galloway 150 winner from the month before, Robb Touchette.
“I might have had a small shot for second, but for the win, not a chance,” Touchette admitted. “I’ll take it. I’m happy with what I’ve got.”
Working with a new Fury Race Car after returning from an 11-year racing hiatus, the Lake Stevens, Washington driver had an interesting note to add about the feedback he received at the track this weekend and his takeaways.
“Tony Eury came out here this weekend, and I’ll be totally honest, I was totally unhappy with the car,” Touchette began. “It would just not put down one fast lap. He kept trying to tell me, and I guess I’m too thickheaded to get it, but it’s not going to go for a lap. That’s not what we’re building into this car. We’re building in one that will stay consistent and not fall off as far as the other guys, and I guess he did it.
“I have to kind of apologize because I kind of laid into him there that I wasn’t very happy with what he gave me and I guess I probably shouldn’t have.”
Last year’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series West winner at Evergreen, Chris Eggleston, hoped to duplicate his door-to-door battle with Peltier from the Tucson Speedway Chilly Willy 150 earlier this year. The Colorado racer would only get as high as fourth in the running order and that is where he would end up.
Upper Lake, California’s Doss faded toward the end of both long runs, but would hold on for fifth.
“The car was really good in the beginning of both runs, but I just felt like the car got really tight and I lost pretty much everything,” Doss recapped. “I would go into the corner and the thing would just slide up. We need to do our homework on long run stuff. Usually we’re really good about that, but we just couldn’t make the perfect adjustment at the break.”
Doss will return to action at Irwindale Speedway (CA) in six days, where he is the current SRL Southwest Tour Series points leader and then will move on to the Montana 200, in which he was the big winner in 2016, the weekend after.
What is next for Peltier?
“I want to win at Berlin,” Peltier answered, in hopes of making the trip to the Battle at Berlin 251 at the Michigan facility in early August. “That place is tough and I think we can do it, even with that level of competition. We just have to get all our bugs worked out of this program that we’re working on. We’re definitely on the right track.”
Race fans can find on-demand Trackside Now coverage of Sunday’s event at Evergreen Speedway by clicking here.
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @aaron_creed
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Michele Martin
Seventh Annual Summer Showdown Official Results
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