KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In front of the biggest audience of the season for the USMTS Casey’s Cup Series, Jeremy Payne stole the show Tuesday night as he led from start to finish en route to a $5,000 victory at the Lakeside Speedway.
Driving the No. 186 Randy Davidson Trucking GRT/RoushYates modified, Payne never trailed all night. He won his heat race from the pole, redrew the No. 1 starting spot for the main event and then proceeded to lead all 40 laps to score his fifth win in 10 starts in the Arbor Masters Central Region presented by Day Motor Sports.
The win, however, did not come easy as the 27-year-old had to fend off the challenges of several would-be leaders throughout the course of the race.
Payne beat nine-time USMTS national champion Kelly Shryock into the first turn at the drop of the green flag, but was soon challenged by local favorite Nic Bidinger for the first seven laps.
Dustin Boney blasted underneath Bidinger on lap eight and ran down Payne. But Boney’s effort was cut short five laps later when he quickly slowed on the backstretch before steering his car into the infield with mechanical troubles.
Jason Hughes, who finished third here behind Payne and Ryan Gustin on April 19, claimed the second spot at that point and made a charge at the leader when the yellow flag waved at the halfway point of the race.
Veteran Ron Jones wrestled the spot away from Hughes on the restart, but contact with the back-stretch wall one-half-lap later ended his night and gave Hughes the spot back. Bidinger regained the runner-up position two laps later, but Hughes returned the favor on lap 27.
Johnny Scott showed his nose to Hughes the next time around, with Hughes suddenly slowing and exiting the track with mechanical woes. Scott narrowed the gap between himself and Payne, but was never able to get close enough to change the outcome.
It was Payne’s second straight victory at the historic half-mile oval and all but assured him of the Arbor Masters Central Region points title which carries a $5,000 award.
Terry Phillips came from the 14th starting spot to finish third while Bidinger held on for fourth in front of Rodney Sanders, who passed 11 cars from his 16th position on the starting grid.
Jeremy Payne, Johnny Scott, Terry Phillips, Nic Bidinger, Rodney Sanders, Kelly Shryock, Tim Setzer, Ken Schrader, Aaron Marrant, Dereck Ramirez, Rick Beebe, Thomas Tillison Jr., Chris Brown, Adam Schrag, Mark Schafman, Jason Hughes, John Allen, Ryan Gustin, Ron Jones, Tim Karrick, Brad Dierks, Austin Siebert, Luke Driskell, Dustin Boney, Matt Dotson, Steve Wetzstein, Stormy Scott.