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Justin Peck is running full time with High Limit Racing in 2024. (Mark Funderburk photo)

Why Justin Peck Needed A Change

When contesting a true outlaw schedule in the sprint car world, winning races is the only thing that matters.

And while every driver’s core ambition is to visit victory lane at the end of 25 laps, it’s a little different for full-time teams versus the non-affiliated drivers who race around in search of a big payday.    

“You show up to win races and when you don’t win, the whole night is a failure,” said Justin Peck, who has experienced competition from both ends of the spectrum.

The Indiana native has been wheeling 410 sprint cars since 2017, invading World of Outlaws and All Star Circuit of Champions events off-and-on along the way. Peck spent two years (2021-’22) committed to the All Stars.

Both seasons, he finished runner-up in the standings.

“I feel like I race better when I have a goal in mind other than to just win races,” Peck said. “If you can collect a good points night, you feel good about it and it gives you some positivity moving forward to the next show.”

After spending last year as a true outlaw and struggling to put a strong season together, the No. 13 Buch Motorsports driver wanted to chase another championship.

“It seemed like every time we’d put ourselves in the lead, we’d blow a tire or a motor,” Peck said, visibly frustrated at the mere recollection. “It’s just been a string of (expletive).”

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Kyle Larson (57) defends his position against Justin Peck (13) and Ryan Timms. (Mark Funderburk photo)

The timing of Peck’s need for a change of scenery matched perfectly with the introduction of High Limit Racing’s inaugural national tour, after co-owners Brad Sweet and Kyle Larson absorbed the All Star brand late last year.

The No. 13 driver had already gotten a taste of High Limit after running the full midweek tour last season, winning the $26,023-to-win feature at Indiana’s Kokomo Speedway and finishing fourth in the standings.

“Brad (Sweet) and Kyle (Larson) put together a pretty solid deal here with the High Limit stuff, so that was kind of the direction we felt like we wanted to go,” Peck said.

Compared to his past experience with the All Stars, the 25-year-old was impressed by the depth of this year’s High Limit field (17 full-timers), the points payout and the increased purses for individual races.

“It’s gotta be good for sprint car racing,” Peck said. “I mean, you get another premier series in here, putting up the kind of money they are — a lot of fans seem to be attracted to it and a lot of drivers and teams seem to be wanting to come out and run it.”

There are three events on the 59-race High Limit schedule that will pay more than $100,000 to win, including the Joker’s Jackpot at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway and the Gold Cup Race of Champions at California’s Silver Dollar Speedway.

While the Buch Motorsports team intends to pick up a handful of big race wins this year, it’s also nice for Peck to know there’s a grander goal to work toward over the full season.

“That’s our game plan, is to show up and put in a good effort. Obviously, the ultimate goal is to win a championship,” Peck said.

He added that the team didn’t necessarily set themselves up well during the season opener at Florida’s East Bay Raceway Park, as the No. 13 was involved in several spins and wrecks during both features.

“Every time I made a move, it was a pile up in front of me where everyone kept going and I just didn’t,” Peck said. “I don’t really have many words for that race other than what the (expletive) just happened.”

There is a bright side for Peck after East Bay, other than finding out his car is fast. Rather than focus on the disappointment of not winning, he’s able to look at the big picture.

“We’ve still got 57 more points shows to go,” Peck said. “Anything can happen.”