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TUCSON, Arizona -- In a race highlighted by local short track drivers, a big paycheck and almost a dozen cautions, it was a former NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion who wound up with the hardware and a hearty $10,000 in his back pocket.
Erie, Colorado's Chris Eggleston wheeled his No. 22 to Tucson Speedway's Victory Lane in the fifth annual Chilly Willy 150 on Saturday night, passing polesitter and fellow Colorado native Preston Pelitier in the closing laps.
"Man it feels great," Eggleston exclaimed after climbing out of his car on the frontstretch. "To finally get one of them big checks. I'm going to take these guys out for a nice, rare, super tender, filet mignon," as his team chuckled. "It feels really good to get around Preston Pelitier there in the closing laps and rim ride this thing into Victory Lane. I didn't think we had enough to get by him. I'm just so glad we get to bring this No. 1 trophy back to Colorado."
Eggleston repeatedly slammed his hands on the roof of his car in happiness once the celebration began following his first ever Chilly Willy 150 win. He pumped his fists with glory and admiried the trophy as if it was the first one he'd ever earned.
"This is definitely one of the coolest wins I've ever had, and probably the hardest I've ever had to drive for a win right here," Eggleston said. "It means the world to me because it's mine, it's George Green, and Mike Eggleston, my dad. It's the three of us. Our hard work that goes into this car. This is the first late model I've ever owned myself, and it's my pride and joy. It's something that, regretfully, takes me away from home. I don't get to spend as much time with my wife and family as I want to. But to come out and get a big win like this, it means the absolute world to me. I will remember this for a long time."
Pelitier and Eggleston raced door-to-door for the final nine-lap green flag stretch. Coming to the checkered flag, Pelitier drive his No. 48 as deep as he could into turn three, but couldn't get around eventual winner Eggleston.
"I did everything but wreck him," Pelitier said dejectedly as he leaned on his vehicle. "The car was just a little snug. I couldn't get the forward drive with the wheel in it. To be honest with you, when I got sideways over there off of turn two, that helped the most because it freed the car up all the way through the corner those last couple laps. It at least allowed me to get a run on him at least. But man, I gave it everything I had. [Eggleston] deserved it. He did a hell of a job."
Linny White, who thought his shot at the Chilly Willy 150 was over after qualifying didn't go his way on Friday afternoon, brought his No. 99 home in third place.
"It's a brand new car," White said, admiring his podium run. "We got it here, struggled with it and struggled with it, unloaded with it Friday morning and it was pretty good. I thought we had a pretty good shot at qualifying in the top three, but I got a little too brave, ran out of talent and backed it into the corner and belt the whole rear clip of a brand new car. But we stayed up late last night, rebuilt it, did some interesting stuff with how to straighten it with a tow truck, and my guys stayed here late and worked on it. I just really couldn't do it without them."
Rounding out the top five when the 150-lap event concluded was father-son combo Owen and Tayler Riddle. Brandon Farringon, Ron Norman, Brett Yackey, Bruce Yackey and Vanessa Robinson rounded out the top 10 finishers.