KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Jeremy Payne left Lakeside Speedway with a $5,000 check from the USMTS back in July, and after winning Thursday night’s “A” Main Qualifier for the co-sanctioned USRA/USMTS Modified feature, he’ll look to double that effort in Saturday’s $10,000-to-win finale for the inaugural Sunflower Showdown presented by Kenny’s Tile.
Surrounded by heavy-hitters in the 20-lap main event, Payne worked his way around Ryan Gustin on lap four and then led the rest of the way to earn a spot in Saturday’s championship race.
The race got off to a rocky start when second-row starter Darron Fuqua lost control in front of the field as he exited the fourth turn to complete the first lap.
The ensuing melee collected nearly a quarter of the starters and saw the end of the night for Johnny Scott, Matt Dotson, Logan Martin and Fuqua.
Terry Phillips, who won the USMTS ‘Hunt’ race here in August, led the restart with Payne, Gustin and Rodney Sanders following in his tracks. Gustin took control the next time around but a second yellow flag for debris on the racing surface slowed the pace with five laps in the books.
Payne used the restart to slide in front of Gustin, and that was as close as anybody got to him again. Phillips closed to within three car-lengths by the end of the race, but had to settle for the runner-up spot.
Nevertheless, his efforts left him atop the overall points for the night and in position for a front-row start in Saturday’s main event.
Fourteenth-starting Jason Hughes passed 11 cars to take third while Gustin and Sanders were fourth and fifth. Travis Saurer, 20th-starting Jon Sheets, Tim Setzer, 26th-starting Tim Karrick and Thomas Tillison Jr. completed the top 10.
Phillips and Payne led Thursday’s 43 entrants in points earned with Gustin, Hughes, Sanders and Setzer also locking themselves into Saturday’s finale.