Payne bags first win for new sponsor FireIce, eyes second title in Seattle SEATTLE (July 18) -- World champion drag racer Jay Payne used the quickest and fastest pass of the weekend to beat Brian Thiel for the Top Alcohol Funny Car title of the...
Payne bags first win for new sponsor FireIce, eyes second title in Seattle
SEATTLE (July 18) -- World champion drag racer Jay Payne used the quickest and fastest pass of the weekend to beat Brian Thiel for the Top Alcohol Funny Car title of the NHRA Division 6 points meet, which was held over one week from the rain-battered race in Woodburn, Ore.
It was Payne's first victory for new title sponsor FireIce, which inked him to a primary deal in May. The trophy race was run during the final round of qualifying for this weekend's NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways.
"I'll admit I was really nervous before the race," Payne said. "The track was hot and greasy so you never know what it's going to give you. At the same time, Brian had run career-best numbers during his last two qualifying passes before he raced us so I knew he was coming on strong. We had to go-for-it."
Utilizing the killer mentality that's made him one of the most successful racers in NHRA history, Payne overcame his fears about the racing surface and tuned his FireIce Mustang to full capacity. The end result was a whopping 5.610 at 258.67 mph that easily dismissed Thiel's 5.705-second attempt at 251.30 mph. The final margin of victory was a broad seven-hundredths of a second.
Saturday's victory was Payne's second of the year but his first with FireIce holding primary sponsorship signage on the side of his Ford Mustang Top Alcohol Funny Car.
"What's neat is we had a relationship with Michael Cordani and FireIce in a smaller capacity before the Gainesville points race," Payne said. "Then Michael drove up to see us at that event and we struck a deal to make them our title sponsor. The next day I won that race, so FireIce is certainly good luck for us.
"Everyone at GelTech Solutions is so fired up about drag racing so to give them their first win is really neat for our team. It's special to see their enthusiasm. Michael and his brother Peter are car guys and they understand how hard it is to win at this level. We're going to give them this trophy and I hope they enjoy looking at it every day. Michael and his staff are as much a part of this team as anyone in the pit."
As for this weekend's NHRA Northwest Nationals, Payne used the same pass he beat Thiel with to earn the No. 1 qualifying position. He then crushed final qualifier Tim Nemeth in the opening round of eliminations Saturday night with a 5.629 at 257.63 mph to Nemeth's 5.832 at 246.98 mph to put himself in prime position to make another trophy run Sunday.
"One win down, one to go, but we still have three rounds left and there are some big hitters in the mix," Payne said. "I'm as happy as can be with the FireIce Mustang right now. We can't let up, though, because no one is going to give us an inch."