LAS VEGAS – Colorado’s Preston Peltier made his trip to Las Vegas worthwhile and crossed an item off his racing bucket list by winning the 150-lap Open Comp Super Late Model race during The Fall Classic at The Bullring on Saturday night.
Peltier took over the race lead in the first 50 laps, led the way at the 75-lap refueling break and then held off past Open Comp winner Linny White by 1.291 seconds for his first Bullring win. Part-time NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver Dylan Lupton was a close third, 1.548 seconds off the pace.
Peltier was euphoric after taking home the $10,000 winner’s check on a wild and wacky night under a full moon at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway short track.
“It’s been on my bucket list to get a win here so I could show them I could run out here,” Peltier said. “Vegas has been my Achilles heel. I came out here in 2015 and man, I was terrible.
“This Rowdy machine is just incredible, and every time I strap in, it’s the best equipment in the country.”
Las Vegas’ Noah Gragson – a 14-time Bullring winner who is still alive in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs – led some laps early before mechanical issues sent him to the pits at lap 50. He finished 16th, one spot behind 2018 Super Late Model track champion Jimmy Parker Jr.
Eddie Secord picked a great time to earn his first career Modified victory, taking the checkered flag in the 100-lap 602 Modifieds feature by 1.403 seconds ahead of Dylan Cappello. The big win was a welcomed reversal from his last time behind the wheel.
“I lost one at Madera a couple weeks ago on a last-corner deal with somebody, and this is redemption for me and my team,” Secord said. “I had to let the guys get away (early) and not burn my stuff up, but when (Doug) Hamm got out there and started leaking, I figured I needed to go.
“This is my first Modified win ever, and it came at one of my favorite tracks. This is a big one for me.”
Six-time and reigning Bullring track champion Doug Hamm controlled the pace for the first half of the race before a fluid leak forced him to the pits around Lap 56. He rebounded like a champion to finish third, 2.317 seconds behind Secord.
The Late Models’ 100-lap feature provided plenty of drama, with Tyler Reif using an aggressive bump-and-run to pass Eric Nascimento and take the checkered flag following a re-start with just two laps remaining. Nascimento led the majority of the race before the re-start, but settled for third behind Warren Knipper, who was just .256 of a second off the pace.
Reif made his way to victory lane despite having his field of vision blocked by a crumpled hood for the race’s final lap.
“We’ve deserved a win like this for so long, because we’ve worked so hard,” said the 12-year-old Reif, of Henderson, Nev. “I’m only 12 and barely just got approved to race in this, and I can’t thank everyone enough for making this car go that fast. I moved (Nascimento), and he might be upset, but that’s short track racing for ya.”
In the Super Stocks’ 50-lap race, two-time and reigning Bullring track champion Sam Jacks made his way to the Winner’s Circle yet again after weathering a late-race re-start. Jacks crossed the line ahead of Fred Kiser Jr. for his ninth Bullring win of the year, with Jim Merlino in third and Michael Nicks in fourth.
Jacks had built a sizeable lead over Kiser Jr. before being forced to fend off the field in a restart with just four laps remaining.
“I was a little upset (by the late caution) because I was like, ‘Man, I worked so hard to get out here with a big lead, and now it’s all gone,’” Jacks said. “I seemed to have enough in the tank for the re-start, got a really good re-start and was able to scoot away a little bit. (The extra laps) definitely adds a different element to it all, and you’re not just trying to go as fast as you can for 20 laps.
“I seemed to save enough right there for the end.”