Payne gives N.C. first victory in Tar Heel 50
BRASSTOWN, N.C. (Oct. 4) — David Payne of nearby Murphy, N.C., led all the way Thursday at Tri-County Racetrack to become the first home-state winner of the ninth annual Tar Heel 50 at the Ray Cook-promoted oval.
Payne, who started outside the front row, earned $3,500 for turning back early challenges from national standout Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., in the unsanctioned special. | Slideshow
"We've been close a time or two in this race, and it's neat to be able to put my name on the list of those who've won it,” Payne said. "It’s a special race in our home area, and it ranks right up there at the top of the races we've won. When those bigger names come to our backyard, it's pretty nice to find out we're able to hold our own and run with 'em.”
O’Neal, who started fifth and used softer rubber with hopes of running strong enough early to grab the lead, pressured Payne early, but cautions erased his momentum.
Payne drew away in the second half of the race in completing his victory while O’Neal settled for second. Tony Knowles of Tyrone, Ga., was third followed by Jamie Oliver of Murphy and Brian Reese of Sharpsburg, Ga., who rallied from his 14th starting spot.
Polesitter Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn., ran second early, lost the spot to O’Neal and ended up retiring, ending his personal five-race win streak.
Notes: Payne’s Gibson Motorsports MasterSbilt Race Car is sponsored by Payne Tire Racing, GW Performance and Base Racing Fuels . ... Payne matched Billy Ogle Jr.’s 12.688-second qualifying lap, but Ogle was given the pole because he qualified first. ... Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., last year’s race winner, finished sixth. ... Track champion Johnny Chastain of Murphy, N.C., was eighth. ... The track’s final event is Oct. 27 with a demolition derby, racing and awards presentation.
Tar Heel 50: (1) David Payne, (2) Don O'Neal, (3) Tony Knowles, (4) Jamie Oliver, (5) Brian Reese, (6) Casey Roberts, (7) George Mashburn, (8) Johnny Chastain, (9) Jeff Neubert, (10) Mike Unger, (11) Wesley English, (12) Kenny Barrett, (13) Randy Nichols, (14) Kip Cochran, (15) Johnny Gulizia, (16) Gabe Wilson, (17) Jamie Lunsford, (18) Billy Ogle Jr., (19) Ronnie Payne, (20) Shannon Bearden, (21) Devin Dilbeck. Fast qualifier (among 21 cars): Ogle, 12.668 seconds. Consolation race winners: George Mashburn, Ronnie Payne.