JEFFERSON, GA – Two months ago, Preston Peltier was on the short track racing sidelines recovering from injuries sustained in a home accident. On August 10, though, the pain from a fall at his house was eased simply by the placing of a golden crown atop his head.
Peltier was anointed the winner of the 30th Annual Slack Auto Parts World Crown 300 presented by Peach State Freighliner and Ford Power Stroke Diesel after conquering a hard-fought battle with Bubba Pollard at Jefferson, Georgia's Gresham Motorsports Park. For his victory, Peltier wore the traditional crown in Gresham's victory lane that had been worn by past event winners such as Dick Trickle, Darrell Waltrip, Gary Balough, Mike Eddy and Bobby Gill.
The win marked Peltier's first-ever Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco victory in his first start. Peltier, a veteran of Super Late Model racing throughout the Southeast, battled door-to-door with two-time Southern Super Series winner Bubba Pollard in the waning laps before taking command for good with 24 laps remaining in the 300-lap affair.
"I've been sitting on the couch for two months after I fell out of the attic and my arm is still kind of hurting me tonight. I tried to race last week but it was just too much.
"I brought all my friends to help me tonight and I'd rather have them than a high-dollar pit crew any day. I'm worn out though. I've been telling these guys this thing is awesome and I think we showed it tonight."
Peltier and Pollard traded the lead several times in the final 100 laps. The two battled side-by-side before making contact on the front stretch inside of 25 laps remaining. Pollard was forced to settle into second while Peltier sped away for the victory.
"We didn't have any tires left in our pits," said Peltier. "And I guess that's a good thing since we never got the final caution I think a lot of people were thinking we would. We hung on to our tires until the last caution came out. And I've got to tell Bubba sorry for the deal on the front stretch. I don't know if it was spotter or what but I didn't know he was there."
Pollard, who was the highest-finishing Southern Super Series regular in second, had his fate sealed in that last battle with Peltier.
"I think our cars were equal there at the end," said Pollard. "I got by him and he put me into the outside wall on the front stretch. He hit me pretty good and I think it knocked the toe out of my car because it got really tight after that. And then it was just the story of this season. It's hard to swallow when you've got one of the best racecars here. We learned a lot and we'll take it and go on to the next one."
TJ Reaid, who had completed just 16 laps of a possible 600 in his last two appearances in the World Crown 300, turned his bad luck around at Gresham with a third place finish that included many laps led early in the race.
"We had a good car on the short run but it gave up on the long run," said Reaid. "Hats off to Preston (Peltier) for coming down here and doing this, though. I guess we'll just have to come back next year and try again. We didn't have tires left and I was banking on a caution there late and we ended up going green. I like this format though; there's so much that can play out. You have to race your own race."
Chase Elliott edged Austin Theriault to round out the top-five. Augie Grill and Kyle Benjamin were sixth and seventh respectively, while Southern Super Series point leader Daniel Hemric was eighth. Anderson Bowen and Hunter Robbins rounded out the top 10.
Pollard earned the Southern Super Series fast time award in qualifying and scored a $500 bonus put up by McGunegill Engine Performance, Ford Racing, Hamner Racing Engines, RW Racing Engines and Progressive Racing Engines.
For more information on the Southern Super Series, visit: www.SouthernSuperSeries.com.
SLACK AUTO PARTS WORLD CROWN 300
Gresham Motorsports Park
August 10, 2013
Pos. No. Driver Laps
1 26P Preston Peltier 300
2 26 Bubba Pollard 300
3 41 TJ Reaid 300
4 9 Chase Elliott 300
5 29 Austin Theriault 300
6 112 Augie Grill 300
7 71 Kyle Benjamin 299
8 98 Daniel Hemric 299
9 29B Anderson Bowen 299
10 18 Hunter Robbins 298
11 75 David Odell 297
12 51 Stephen Nasse 297
13 15 Mason Massey 296
14 129 Spencer Davis 296
15 98F Russell Fleeman 291
16 2W Donnie Wilson 287
17 8 John Hunter Nemechek 185
18 47 Chris Fontaine 184
19 42 Chad Finley 173
20 1 Mike Garvey 104
21 23 Dalton Grindle 92
22 36 Rodney Benefield 51
23 47K Allen Karnes 10