Payne Jr. wound up the Northeastern Midget Association winner Saturday night at Star
Speedways Summerfest after Tim Bertrands car proved too wide in tech. It was
the second time this season the apparent winner has lost to the tape measure.
Payne and Bertrand thrilled the crowd over the final 12 laps, Bertrand leading by less
than a yard at the checker. I dont like winning race like that, said
Payne, who how has sixth career NEMA wins, all but one of them at Star. Tim drove a
great race and he handled everything I threw at him.
The victory puts Payne and owner Gene Angelillo into their respective points leads heading
into the July 3 (Thursday Night) show at Thompson Speedway.
The Bertrand-Payne duel began on a restart following a lengthy red on lap 13. A Mark
Buonomo spin just short of the line started a multi-car incident that included a fire.
Adam Cantor was taken to the hospital with minor burns but returned to the track.
The red flag stopped a Bertrand-Pernesiglio battle. Starting 10th, Payne has worked his
way to third when the incident occurred. The first two drivers running in a pack
immediately behind Buonomo got by but there was no escape for Chuck Morton, Kyle
Carpenter, Randy Cabral (who flipped) and Cantor.
Cantors car caught fire (ruptured fuel cell). Quick work by NEMA president/starter
Steve Grant was instrumental in limiting Cantors injuries.
On the green, Payne, who started 10th, grabbed second from Pernesiglio and immediately
began pressuring Bertrand. It went to the checkered with Ryan Dolan watching several car
lengths behind. I got under him three or four times and Tim drove a defensive
race, said Payne. I wound rather finish second than spin us both out going for
the lead. He was driving like a winner.
Dolan wound up second with Pernesiglio, Bobby Santos III and Howie Bumpus filling out the
top five. Bertrand and Payne were heat winners while Matt OBrien, who finished
ninth, was the Hard Charger.
It was the best race Ive ever been in, said Bertrand. Joey was up
and down and we banged a couple times, one pretty good and Joey apologized. Beating him on
the race track is quite an accomplishment. After the race, well, it was very
controversial; very disappointing.
Payne didnt know he had won until after the Supermodified race. Bobby Seymour
congratulated me, explained Payne. I said second is OK and he said
No, the #47 was too wide. I hated hearing that.
Earlier this year, Bobby Santos, in the Seymour #29, suffered the same fate at