NEWTON, N.C. — Preston Peltier got his quest for a record fourth Easter Bunny 150 win off to a flying start Saturday afternoon, topping qualifying for the PASS South Super Late Model Series at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Peltier collected his 15th-career PASS South Quick Time Award with a lap of 14.752 seconds (88.585 mph) around the historic 0.363-mile oval.
The driver of the No. 33 Newton Concrete entry knows that a fast start isn’t always the key to a fast finish at Hickory, but he was content with his car’s one-lap speed all the same.
“Man, I just love this place,” Peltier told Race Chaser Online. “It’s always been good to us. You know that qualifying well here doesn’t always mean you’ll finish well, but we’ve always stayed up front here and I think we’ll be good tonight. It was a good lap, but we know that what counts is being up front on lap 150 tonight, so that’s what we’re going to try and do.”
Nipping at Peltier’s heels was 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, who led the way for a portion of the time trial session and ended up second after a lap of 14.781 seconds (88.411 mph) in his No. 51 Toyota.
Defending PASS South champion Matt Craig was third-fastest (14.802/88.285), ahead of Canadians Cole Butcher and Raphael Lessard.
Christian Eckes, Dave Farrington Jr., Derek Griffith, Brandon Setzer and Joey Pole completed the top 10 and all made the redraw for the front five rows.
Notables outside the top 10 included Tanner Thorson (12th), Ryan Millington (13th) and four-time PASS national champion Ben Rowe (14th), who is the defending Easter Bunny 150 winner.
The top 20 locked themselves in on speed for Saturday night’s 150-lap main event, capped by Travis Kvapil, who timed in 20th with a lap of 15.042 seconds (86.877 mph).
Brandon Setzer, Tyler Church and Sarah Cornett-Ching’s times were all disallowed due to infractions discovered in post-qualifying inspection, while Nicholas Naugle did not make a qualifying attempt.
Dawson Cram will have to start at the rear of the field due to testing at Hickory earlier in the week, which violated PASS’s seven-day no-testing policy.
Racing activities at Hickory Motor Speedway kick off at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, highlighted by the 12th annual Easter Bunny 150.
Full qualifying results can be viewed on the next page…