KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Jeremy Payne picked up his first USMTS Casey’s Cup Series main event win of the season Friday night as the mighty mud-slinging modifieds invaded the Lakeside Speedway.
After nearly two weeks of rain and cold, sunshine broke through in the afternoon and allowed track officials to toil on the weather-beaten track surface which held up for most of the night.
Jason Hughes started on the pole for the 30-lap feature race, and after the green flag flew it was apparent that he would soon have some company as Payne and two-time defending USMTS national champion Ryan Gustin began charging through the field.
Payne moved into second in just three laps, and then roared past Hughes as the pair came to the flagstand to complete lap eight.
Meanwhile, Gustin was clawing his way from 14th on the starting grid and broke into the top three with a dozen laps complete while Hughes bounced back to challenge Payne for the top spot.
A pair of mid-race cautions gave Hughes and Gustin an ample shot at the leader, but Payne was too strong and pulled away on each restart.
He crossed the finish line six car-lengths ahead of Gustin to earn the $3,000 winner’s share of the prize money and his 12th career USMTS victory.
Rodney Sanders finished fourth behind Gustin and Hughes while Johnny Scott rebounded from an early-race tire problem to round out the top five.
Kurt Kile, Terry Phillips, Thomas Tillison Jr., Austin Siebert and John Allen completed the top 10.