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Snowball Derby

Preston Peltier looks to close short but sweet 2018 with a Tom Dawson Trophy

It’s been a good year on and off the track for the winningest PASS driver …

Jody Link | PNJ

The Snowball Derby pays to the be the pole-sitter but it pays a lot more to be the winner.

That’s the driving force behind Preston Peltier’s effort at Five Flags Speedway this season. The 40-year-old short track mainstay captured the top starting spot for the 2017 race but was caught up in a crash and finished 32nd.

He had the speed to win that race, and as fast as he was in 2017, he believes that same car is considerable better than it was last year.

“We tested last week, the car is really good and I like it,” Peltier said. “We are every bit as good this year as last year and I think we’re 20 times better in race trim.”

Overall, Peltier has made four Snowball Derby starts with just one top-10 and a best finish of seventh in 2015.

Peltier hasn’t had the time to race like he once did, with the birth of his daughter Jocelyn over the summer. But that’s provided him extra motivation, having won the big payday Easter Bunny 150 (Hickory) and Summer Showdown (Evergreen) races since her berth.

He even wrote her name on the Showdown ‘show check.’

READ MORE: Complete Snowball Derby coverage

“To me, racing goes hand-in-hand with family,” Peltier said. “It’s a family sport. You see it with Bubba (Pollard) and (Logan) Boyett. There are a lot of people here with their kids and it’s pretty special.”

This race will also be special for another reason as his longtime car builder, Robert Hamke, is retiring from the industry after this weekend.

“I’ve never raced anything but a Hamke,” Peltier said. “Robert is like a second dad to me. He’s going to step back from racing a little bit and it would be special for us if we can send him off with a win.”

And armed with a larger notebook on his one-year-old car, Peltier feels like he’s got a great shot if he can avoid trouble.

“Most of the time races are won in the shop and that’s where we are more prepared than ever before,” he said.

Pole. Check.

Win? TBD.

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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