By: Blu Metz
November 8, 2015
The Stars are lining up to
help make the 2015 version of the ATQMRA Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium an
Allstar event. The $1,000 winner's share is certainly drawing some
attention. Inquiries from several top indoor teams have come in about
running their indoor cars with the ATQMRA on the Wall inner oval on
Saturday November 28th. Among those interested is Joey Payne in the John
Smith/Rich Tolerico owned Laffler number 5. With the major changes that
were approved last month's meeting the organization is in process of
scheduling another meeting in the near future to give interested parties an
opportunity to give further comment before final implementation of the
Multi time ATQMRA Champion as
well as a multi time NEMA Midget Champion and Supermodified Star Joey Payne
will be racing the John Smith Rich Tolerico owned Laffler number 5 car at the
Turkey Derby as was announced on Facebook this week. The team puts together
a trio that has been working together for
years that has a long
history of success in the racing world in general and the ATQMRA in
What more can anyone say
about Joey Payne as a driver. He began his ATQMRA career after a time
racing karts with tremendous success. Joey took over the seat of his
father's Twin Eagle Racer's 67 in 1984 from his hero and mentor Johnny Coy
Sr. who retired as a driver at the end of the previous season after winning
his last race in a TQ midget at that year's Turkey Derby. Joey won his
first race and Rookie of the year in 84.
The first race Payne won was
the last race ever run at the long defunct Islip Long Island Speedway. Joey
relays that he won that race with a last lap pass of his current car owner
Johnny Smith coming to the checker. Payne and Smith first teamed up racing
the Tim Yarger Badger with Smith as crew chief. The team had much success
winning at the indoor series at Niagara FallsNY and Joey's first ATQMRA
Championship in the Yarger 26.
1990 was a record setting
season for Payne with the ATQMRA. He won 16 of the 28 races run that year.
He won the last 10 races in a row as well as winning the last seven races
in a row on the pavement at New Egypt Speedway. It was the first ATQMRA
Championship for Payne who would win two additional titles, one in the
Yarger Badger and another driving the Colin Martin Sptifire 26 car.
Joey and Richie Tolerico are
long time friends with Richie working on Joey's crew since his earliest
days in racing beginning in 83. Tolerico purchased a Twin Eagle racer from
Joe Payne Sr. in 87 and had a stint as ATQMRA Vice President at the end of
the Pinebrook Era. He would also successfully field a beautiful Badger
number 84 with Johnny Coy Jr. behind the wheel for several seasons. He has
been a consistent crew member for Joey whether it was a TQ Midget a full
Midget or a Supermodified. The two long time friends have spent their fair
share of time in Victory lane.
Johnny Smith and his family
have a ling history with the ATQMRA. His father Sonny Smith built numerous
innovative cars that won races with the ATQMRA. Mark Smith won a Turkey
Derby in the Smith built Crescent powered rear engine car that last raced
at Atlantic City indoors with Bobby Cicconi behind the wheel. Sonny built
the Number five upright Crossley engined car with Jerry Wall and Jimmy
Reider. It was basically a scaled down version of Jimmy Reider's Kurtis
Kraft Midget. It had much ATQMRA Success both indoors and out. That car was
later owned by Joe Payne Sr. and raced by John Matrafalo.
Johnny Smith was a very
successful racer with the ATQRMA winning numerous races in a variety of
cars over the years as well as notching a victory at the old Atlantic City
indoor series in his father's offset TQ Midget that would later be raced by
Guy Cicconi, Lou Cicconi as well as Mike Tidaback, Chuck Mangione, and Art
Sonny who was a close friend
of Jimmy Reider and fielded what would later evolve into the Reider car by
building the first car that had a Koehler 2 stroke engine mounted outside
the Chassis rails similar to the Jim Champine Supermodifieds of the era.
That particular car began the revolution in TQ midgets that continues today
with the engine outside the main chassis. That particular car went through
numerous hands over the years and is currently owned by Donnie Adams as a
modern car that raced Atlantic City this past winter with Dave Williams
behind the wheel.
Nick Ladyga has designs on
running the Turkey Derby after running a handful of shows with the ATQMRA.
Zane Zeiner will have his indoor TQ at Wall for the pre Turkey Derby
Practice sessions to shake it down. He isn't currently planning to race the
Turkey Derby because he doesn't want to have his focus taken away from the
Stock car classes he is planning to race that weekend.
ATQMRA News and Notes:
The ATQMRA is in process of scheduling a follow up
meeting to give everyone an opportunity to discuss the major rule changes
that were approved at the October Meeting before they are implemented. If
the stars line up and all of the approvals come through 2015 NEMA Lites
Champion Anthony Payne will be racing the Turkey Derby in the Payne Family
owned Laffler chassis car.the younger Payne is an accomplished racer having
spent several years racing full size midgets following a successful career
at Wall's quarter Midget track.