Gainesville: Jay Payne preview

Fresh off victory in Atlanta, Payne looking to double-up in Florida GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 11) -- Multi-time world champion drag racer Jay Payne scored his first victory of the 2010 season Sunday at Atlanta Dragway, driving his FireIce Ford ...

Fresh off victory in Atlanta, Payne looking to double-up in Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 11) -- Multi-time world champion drag racer Jay Payne scored his first victory of the 2010 season Sunday at Atlanta Dragway, driving his FireIce Ford Mustang Top Alcohol Funny Car through a tough field to notch his 104th NHRA win.

With a renewed spirit, the 2006 Pro Mod and 1995 Top Alcohol Funny Car world champion arrives at Gainesville Raceway looking for win No. 105 at the 41st annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals. This time he'll be wheeling Brad Anderson's FireIce Chevrolet Camaro Pro Mod, a car capable of world record elapsed times and top speeds, as witnessed by a recent test session in Georgia.

"The adrenaline is pumping again," Payne said. "Winning cures all your problems, that's for sure. Like they say, there's no such thing as a bad win. It was a real lift for the FireIce team and we're excited to race this weekend and do it all over again in our Pro Mod car."

For the first time in history, Payne and his Pro Mod peers will be racing for official Wally trophies, the NHRA's longtime symbol of greatness on the quarter-mile. Although Payne's mantle already is packed with the iconic gold statues, he's excited about the prospect of getting his first in the Pro Mod class. Prior to this season, NHRA classified Pro Mod as an exhibition category.

"Roger Burgess should be commended," Payne said of his fellow driver, who sponsors the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series through his ProCare Rx company. "He's taken Pro Mod to a new level. I think people are going to get really excited about this class the more they see it on TV.

"Part of the new deal is a 30-minute Pro Mod show from each race. I live in Southern California and everyone is always asking me when they'll see Pro Mod on TV. Well now they will, and it's going to be great for all of us, especially the team owners out there looking for big corporate sponsors. We'll be getting nationwide attention now."

Sponsorship isn't a problem for Payne. He's just renewed his deal with FireIce, a Jupiter, Fla.-based company that manufacturers a non-toxic, environmentally friendly fire suppression gel firefighters add to water in pumper trucks, helicopters, fire planes, and handheld extinguishers to help extinguish fires much quicker than with water alone.

"We have the best marketing partners in the sport with Jay Payne and Brad Anderson," said Michael Cordani, CEO of GelTech. "They are not only champions on the drag strip, they're champions in life and they work they do for us and for firefighters across the country has been a huge bonus for our company."

This weekend Payne will be joined by 14 firefighters from the surrounding area, guaranteeing him a vocal fan base.

"Firefighters are all part of a big brotherhood," Payne said. "And they've embraced our team everywhere we've been. It's an honor to represent FireIce and all of these brave men and women. I always seem to do really well when we've got firefighters with us in the pits so I expect them to bring us good luck this weekend as well.

"We tested well and we'll be ready to do our best."

-source: jay payne

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jay Payne , Roger Burgess