Payne takes home $3,000 for win
Brasstown – Murphy
High School teacher David Payne won the biggest race of the
year so far at his hometown track Saturday night, taking home
a cool $3,000 in the Tennessee Thunder Series.
In front of a huge cheering crowd at
Tri-County Race Track, Payne and Anthony “Dirty White Boy”
White of Clinton, Tenn., battled just inches apart for 38 laps
in the super late model feature.
With a handful of laps left, Payne
made a move to the bottom groove, getting under the high
riding White in the second turn. White moved right back to
Payne’s bumper, but he was never able to regain the front spot
and had to settle for second place.
Payne said his car was running well on
night and it was just a waiting game in the race.
“We tried to get up on his quarter
panel a few times and keep the pressure on him,” Payne said.
“That way if he made a mistake, we could take advantage of it.
He got up a little high in turn three, and we were able to get
out in front.”
Payne said his team, sponsored by Andy
Gibson, has had help from different groups as well as
Brasstown veteran Ray Cook, which has given them a little
“We’ve been trying to win one of those
big races [at Tri-County] for a while now, and we’ve had some
good runs, but something has always happened,” Payne said. “It
feels good to finally get that win.”
While Payne and White battled up
front, Cook and Tommy Kerr of Maryville, Tenn. – the Tennessee
Thunder points leader – were in their own duel, just a few car
lengths behind for third place with Cook taking that position.
The night started under clear skies,
with the track looking like it was ready for fast and exciting
Just as the first set of cars were in
line to enter the track, the first drops of rain hit. For
about 20 minutes, the cars were called onto the track to help
dry it out and get it in racing condition.
Track promoter Steve Morris told the
fans, “We will do everything we can to get the track race
worth if we can do it in time to meet our mid-night curfew.”
After a two-hour delay, the first race hit
the track for heats and qualifying. Murphy driver Jim Twiggs
won the modified street feature in a caution-free 15 lap
event. Jacob Grizzle of Blairsville, Ga., won the Nesmith
crate late model feature.
Payne then took the first fast six
dash and White took the second dash, which set the front row
for the 40-lap Tarheel Shoot-Out.
The race started with 23 of the 25
cars entered able to start. Several drivers at the tail of the
field spun out, causing seven cautions.
Once the drivers got that out of the
way, racing was fast, with battles all the way around the
track. Kayne Hickman, Johnny Chastain, World of Outlaws
national champion Steve Casebolt, Dan Tipton, Russell Thomas
and Rodney Weeks rounded out the top 10.
With the delays, the mini stocks were
unable to race, so they will run two features Saturday night.
The street stocks also will run their Mid-Season Championship.