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Payne takes home $3,000 for win

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 8:05 PM CDT     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 extra push.

    “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 action.

    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.

 Andy Gibson

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Winners Circle

 from left to right:
 Andy Gibson, Chad Anderson, David Payne, Jason “Junior” Allison, Ronnie Payne