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Payne Continues to Lead the Electric Vehicle Charge at IHRA Summit SuperSeries World FInals

Friday, 03 November 2023

Todd Payne has set the standard again among Electric Vehicle racers.

Since the electric cars were approved to participate in the IHRA Summit SuperSeries, the Yadkinville, N.C., driver has been the top finishing EV driver at each of the last three World Finals. He made to the semifinals in the Sportsman class in 2021, the finals in Sportsman in 2022 and the quarterfinals after being moved to the Mod (No Box) class in 2023.

He also qualified for the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals presented by Strange Engineering as the Motorcycle track champion at Wilkesboro Dragway and the winner of the IHRA Division 9 (Raiders) Summit Team FInals. While he has multiple track championships on two wheels, his fellow racers have given him the nickname “Tesla Todd” after seeing him have such success in his 2017 P100D Tesla White Lightning. 

Payne, 47, has an advantage over many in how he’s great with numbers. His full-time job is an engineering beta test manager for a pool products company, so when it comes to things like dial-in times and other calculations, he’s always on top of it.

Todd Payne Mod 1

Ironically, he found a familiar foe at last month’s Race of Champions held the day before the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals at Holly Springs Motorsports Park.

“During Friday’s race, I immediately found the tree with a .006 light,” Payne said. “During the first round, I ended up beside Larry Doty who took me out in the final round last year. Well, I got him this year with a .009 and that was somewhat of a small victory. It’s just funny how that worked out in the staging lanes.”

He had a little more trouble during Saturday’s main event after going red on the tree during time trials. He wasn’t as confident as the day before, but managed another .009 when needed to get to the final eight in Mod. A new rule for the EV transfer allowed for flat-out runs.

Todd Payne MC 1

Payne recalled posting a total of five .00 lights at the World Finals between the car and bike, but unfortunately for him, two of those fell red. 

“I felt the tree was a little different for Saturday’s race so I’ll have to be able to adapt better in the future,” he said. “As far as the bike entry, it was an honor to compete with the Top Eliminator bikes with my stock entry. I found out real quick these guys have all the tricks on their bikes, but as Jim Carry would say, I had a chance. Thanks to all the IHRA staff and congratulations to the winners this year.”

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IHRA calendarheader

Summit Team Finals D6 - Thunder Valley Dragways
Thunder Valley Dragway
Thursday, August 22nd - Saturday, August 24th
Summit Team Finals D1 - Roxboro Motorsports Park
Roxboro Motorsports Park
Thursday, September 5th - Saturday, September 7th
Summit Team Finals D2 - Holly Springs Motorsports
Holly Springs Motorsports
Thursday, September 12th - Saturday, September 14th
Summit Team Finals D3 - Quaker City Motorsports Park
Quaker City Motorsports Park
Thursday, September 19th - Saturday, September 21st
Summit Team Finals D5 - US41 Dragstrip
US41 Dragstrip
Thursday, September 19th - Saturday, September 21st