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Bringing the Payne : Mark Payne nearly unbeatable in D1

Monday, 10 June 2013

Just five years ago Mark Payne couldn’t buy an Ironman.

After a long and rather frustrating career, Payne only had one Ironman to show for all of his hard work on the track. He had the talent, he had the car, but Payne couldn’t figure out where the results were.

As it turns out, all he needed was a change of scenery.

In 2008 Payne finally took ownership of his now famous bright red “House of Payne” 2006 Chevrolet Cavalier and since that day Payne has been on a role. Before long one Ironman turned into two, two turned into four and now Payne has nine fire-suited statuettes in his collection.

And more recently, Payne’s collection has been growing at exponential rate. Already with one win this season, Payne added two more – all in one day, mind you – at the Summit Pro-Am doubleheader at Pittsburgh Raceway Park earlier this month. Payne went a remarkable 10-0 on a busy Saturday culminating with wins over Mark Claypoole and Dan Flanigan to sweep the Good Vibrations Top Sportsman class for the weekend.

Payne 1

“The good Lord really blessed me today. I couldn’t have done this without the help of my family, running two races, 10 rounds, it took a joint effort by everyone to get this done,” Payne said. “I really can’t say anything other than how awesome it was. I have never doubled up. The car was flawless, I was lucky when I needed to be and the day just went phenomenal.”

Payne’s win over Flanigan proved the biggest of the weekend as Payne claimed the special edition Nitro Jam Ironman – a first in his career – and extended his points lead in Division 1. In the final Payne recorded a perfect triple-zero reaction time and blasted down the track with a 6.260-second pass at 163.40 mph on a 6.22 dial to take the win. Flanigan, who took home the Best Appearing award earlier in the day in his NOCO 2013 Camaro, took a tad too much at the stripe with a pass -.053 over his dial.

“For someone like me to get that lucky and pull off both of them was remarkable. I had the bye both rounds in the semis so I knew I was going to both finals, but that just added to the pressure. To have an opportunity to win both, all in one day and in one car, it was unreal to think we could pull that off,” Payne said. “When I went up the return road I had tons of friends waiting for me, waiting to give me a high five and congratulate me – it was a surreal moment.

“It is hard to believe five years ago I only had one Ironman in Quick Rod and now I have nine of them!”

Payne 3

With the threat of weather on Sunday, both races of the Pro-Am were run on Saturday with the two races alternating back and forth. On the day Payne went 10-0, adding a final round victory over Mark Claypoole to wrap up the night in the second Pro-Am competition. In that race Payne had another solid light and held off Claypoole on the top end with a margin of victory of only .014 seconds.

“Once I got to the second race there was really no pressure,” Payne said. “I had already accomplished so much by winning the Nitro Jam and the car was running so well that I just went up there loose and feeling no pressure at all.”

Following Saturday at Pittsburgh Payne has now recorded his second and third victories of 2013 and holds a commanding lead over Calvin Butler in the Patriots Division standings.

“With the weather throwing us a few curveballs we had some lucky rounds and some good rounds, but I got it done thanks to the help of several including my son Kendall, mom Shirley, dad Richard, my wife Angel and my good friends Allan and Kevin O’Brien,” Payne said. “I had my whole family there helping with parachutes, cooling the car and whatever I needed. It was awesome and really made it possible for us to get both wins.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 June 2013