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Payne holds off Turner in MARS NCRA CLMA Showdown

MARS DIRTcar SeriesBy David Smith
Jetmore, Kansas – June 4, 2010 – Jeremy Payne of Springfield, Missouri held off race long challenges from Eric Turner to win the twenty lap qualifying feature Friday night on the first night of the 1st annual “Sunflower State Showdown” at the Great American Dirt Track in Jetmore, Kansas. The race was a co-sanctioned event with the MARS DIRTcar and CLMA DIRTcar series.

Payne out ran pole sitter and MARS DIRTcar series rookie of the year contender Gary Christian into turn one at the start of the feature event with fourth starting Turner falling in behind in the runner up position. Payne, aboard the Andy’s Frozen Custard/Port City Racing/New Vision Graphics sponsored GRT chassis, had the car set up perfectly and by lap five had opened up to a ten car length advantage.

Behind the two front runners the battle for third heated up with Corey Zeitner and former four time series champion Kelly Boen, aboard the Terry Pannell owned #33x, battled side by side for position for several laps with Boen taking over the position by lap five.

The first of two cautions would wave on lap six when Patrick Johnson spun to a stop in turn two. After an ill fated attempt on the restart due to another caution the race finally resumed with Payne again motored his Haftfield Racing Engines out front.

But the battle for the runner up position waged as Boen began working the bottom of the three-eighths mile track and got underneath Turner several times but could never gain the momentum to overtake the position.

Eventually Turner would pull slightly away from Boen and the current MARS DIRTcar series points leader then set his sights on the leader Payne. By the races midway point, Paynes advantage had shrunk to two car lengths with Payne working down low and Turner up top.

On lap seventeen lapped traffic came into play and this allowed Turner to close to within one car length of the leader. While Turner would pull even with the leader on a couple occasions, Payne had the setup and the fast way around the track and would hold off any further challenges in the final laps to pick up the victory.

“We have really struggled here lately with this new car (GRT), said an enthusiastic Payne. “Me and Terry (Phillips) have really worked hard on figuring this car out and I think we got it going now as the car just ran great. I saw him (Turner) once but I felt comfortable enough where I was running on the track that I thought we would be okay.”

Turner held on for the runner up position with Boen settling in for third. It was a battle of champions for the fourth position with MARS DIRTcar series champion Terry Phillips getting the better of O’Reilly/NCRA champion Kyle Berck in a race long battle. Jack Sullivan, John Anderson and Eddie Krichoff rounded out the top eight and locked themselves into Saturday nights $10,000 to win feature finale lineup.

The ten lap heat races for the twenty-seven car field were won by Payne, Zeitner, Turner and Anderson.

There will still be plenty of chances to fill out the twenty-plus car field for Saturday nights finale at the Great American Dirt Track. Heat races are scheduled for 7:00 PM.

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