Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – ALBANY, NY – “I’ll tell you what…this is the proudest moment of my life!”
Those were the words of veteran Indoor TQ racer Joey Payne Friday night, as he stood in victory lane at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY. There’s just one difference than the countless other times he’s held the checkered flag. He was in street clothes after watching his son, Anthony, secure his first career Indoor TQ win.
After having problems throughout qualifying, the second-generation driver started dead-last (24th) on the grid and picked his way through the field to get to the front. Then, when leaders Andy Jankowiak & Erick Rudolph got together, causing a multi-car pileup, Payne hugged the bottom, moved from third to first and went on for the win.
“I posted on Facebook earlier in the week, that it has always been one of my dreams to come from dead last to win a TQ race just like my dad,” the younger Payne said in winner’s circle. “Tonight I was able to accomplish that and I couldn’t be happier.”
Even with Anthony screaming from the top of his lungs on top of his car, hoisting the big $2,000 first place check, his smile didn’t hold a candle to the one his dad was sporting.
“To have my kid start dead last and drive his ass off to the front in a dominating fashion, there’s no better feeling in the world,” Joey said. “I was joking that I was starting to screw myself into the ground because I couldn’t stand still. I just kept going in circles, following him around.”
The one thing that really impressed the proud father was how poised his son was behind the wheel in Friday night’s TQ A-Main.
“He drove a smart, very clean race tonight,” Joey said of Anthony’s performance. “He’s a clean driver and sometimes he gets pushed and shoved around out there, but he didn’t take any crap tonight and drove the wheels off this car.”
That too, was something that Anthony kept in mind all race.
“I did everything I could to stay consistent and keep my nose clean,” Anthony said. “Everyone’s kept telling me, ‘you gotta keep your nose clean,’ and I was able to do that and be smooth. Even with the last couple yellows, all that goes through your head is counting down the laps to the end and hitting your marks. Luckily, I was able to do that.”
The final night of TQ Indoor Racing Season is tonight at Albany’s Times Union Center. Doors open to the public at 6 pm. You don’t want to miss this race, and see if Payne can double up…and if his dad can have a bigger smile!