Payne reigns at Tri County

  • (Travis Dockery • Clay County Progress) David Payne speeds down the straightaway as the eventual winner turns practice laps.
    (Travis Dockery • Clay County Progress) David Payne speeds down the straightaway as the eventual winner turns practice laps.

Monday, Sept. 7 saw racing fans gather in Brasstown for the annual Labor Day Championships at Tri County Racetrack. All weekly divisions were in action along with the Super Late Model main event for $2,000.

The first race of the night didn’t take long to get exciting. By winning their respective heat races, Charles Devine Jr. and Jim Weller led the field to the green flag. Weller entered turn one high and his No. j69 made contact with the wall, climbed the banking and tumbled over. Weller was uninjured in the flip but the accident ended his hopes of a win. Once racing resumed, Roger Beaver powered by Devine to take the lead and held it through the checkered flag. Devine settled for second with Alex Vance in third.

Early drama struck again in the Interestate Welding Modified Hobby feature. Newcomer Devon Morgan grabbed the top spot on lap one as John Howard and Bobby Elkins went toe-to-toe for second. The pair made contact on the front stretch on lap two which sent them both careening through the infield. A cloud of dust exploded from underneath the cars as the duo re-entered the racing surface in turn two and continued on. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the dust plume all but cancelled visibility, causing a 10 car pile-up in turns one and two. It took several minutes for track officials to reset the lineup correctly, but once racing continued, Morgan proved to be too tough for the competition. Howard held on to finish second and points leader Michael Barnett finished third. 

Jason Deal and Danny Ledford made up the front row for the Crate/Limited Late Model feature. Ledford, who has acquired the nickname “ The Heartbreak Kid” this season due to his tough luck, used the momentum of the high line to take the lead. Hayesville’s Shannon Jones had a wheel-gripping moment when his No. 32 almost flipped after making contact with the turn three wall. Following the caution, racing resumed and Ledford continued to set the pace. With the white flag in the air, Ledford bobbled in turn four which allowed Levi Hicks to pull to the leader’s door. Ledford was able to regain momentum and pilot his No.4 to his first win of the season with Hicks crossing the line in second and Deal in third.

The main event of the night belonged to the Super Late Models. A stacked field made up of former champions, winners and record holders roared off of turn four to start the fight for the $2,000 prize. Shawn Chastain and David Payne led the charge into turn one as the green flag waved. The two members of the Murphy Mofia dueled side-by-side before Payne’s Capital race car shot past Chastain’s No. X15. Kurt English found speed on the top side and moved his No. 17 into the third position. The trio entertained fans lap after lap before Payne sealed the deal with the victory. Chastain took second place after holding off a hard-charging English who finished third.

In other action, Tucker Anderson made it two wins in a row in the Beginner 602 class and Adam Brooks was the class of the field for the Pony division. Josh Deese won a wild Front Wheel Drive feature which saw 17 cars take the green.

The next event for the track will be Friday, Sept. 18. Along with the regular divisions, the Topless Outlaws Late Model Series from Tenn. will make its first trip to Brasstown with $2,000 on the line. Ticket gates open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7:30 p.m.

The results in this story are unofficial as official finishing orders had not been released by press time.