National: Jay Payne Las Vegas final report

Payne wins Vegas race in FireIce Ford Mustang LAS VEGAS (April 18) -- Jay Payne claimed his 105th NHRA drag racing title Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, driving his FireIce/Brad Anderson Engineering Ford Mustang to victory in...

Payne wins Vegas race in FireIce Ford Mustang

LAS VEGAS (April 18) -- Jay Payne claimed his 105th NHRA drag racing title Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, driving his FireIce/Brad Anderson Engineering Ford Mustang to victory in the Top Alcohol Funny Car class of the 11th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals.

This was Payne's sixth triumph in Las Vegas, his 20th national event win in Top Alcohol Funny Car, and his 55th overall trophy run in the Top Alcohol Funny Car class. His other 50 NHRA victories have come in Top Alcohol Dragster, Pro Mod, and Super Stock.

"The Las Vegas guy just came over to me and told me we've won here six times," Payne said. "The people here are nice, we enjoy the place. It's kind of nice to go through the front gate and people say, 'Good morning glad you are here.' It's even better when they say, 'Congratulations on the win.'"

Throughout qualifying and eliminations, Payne did his best to stay in the 5.6-second range. The magic number was good enough to beat some of the top drivers in the class -- Larry Miner, John Lombardo Jr., Clint Thompson, and final-round foe Sean O'Bannon.

"It went down the track, but I still think it should have gone down faster," he said. "But other people were having problems getting down the track too so maybe that's all the track would give us. I really don't know. It was enough to win and that's what it's all about."

Perhaps Payne's best pass of the event came in the quarterfinals when, racing without the advantage of lane choice on a hot racetrack, Payne managed to beat Lombardo on a holeshot. Payne's quick .058-second reaction time put him .027 seconds ahead of Lombardo off the line and he managed to keep his Mustang out front to win with a 5.683 at 254.04 mph ahead of Lombardo's quicker but losing 5.676 at 254.62 mph.

By the time he got to the final round the 60-year-old veteran from Claremont, Calif., wouldn't be denied, posting a stellar .030-second light and a 5.673 at 255.92 mph ahead of a O'Bannon surrendering 9.550 at 103.77 mph.

"Last year I wrecked the car here," Payne said. "If I had done better with it, I probably would have parked it and just run Pro Mod. But after wrecking it, I couldn't quit. It's like falling off a horse, you gotta get back on. And we did it with this car."

Michael Cordani, the CEO of GelTech Solutions Inc., the parent company of Payne's sponsor FireIce, attended the race and was pleased with the team's result.

"I'd like to thank Jay Payne and dedicate this win to all the firefighters across the country," Cordani said. "Last year was scary. He wrecked the car and wasn't able to go to the World Finals. This year he's turned it around with a brand new car, and we're right back in it."

-source: jay payne PR

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jay Payne