Loxley, AL. (Nov. 21, 2022) – It only took Payton Freeman a few weeks for him to secure his first major victory with GR Smith’s Team 22 Inc.
Following a second place run in the first night of the Hunt the Front Southern Showcase at Deep South Speedway, Freeman had to fend off an intense challenge from Dirt Late Model veteran Brandon Overton on Sunday to bring home a $22,000 race-winning paycheck.
To defeat one of the best in the discipline, Freeman carefully studied Overton’s driving patterns throughout Sunday’s feature, which put him in a great position to defend his lead through a handful of late-race cautions.
“I’ve got a lot of emotions going through me,” Freeman said. “I rode behind Brandon [Overton] for a little while earlier in the race so I could see where he was attacking and what he could do. I knew he was going to try roll me on the outside, but if I protected the bottom and hit my marks, it was going to be hard for him to lead the corner with me.”
The efficiency Freeman and Overton possessed on the first night of action at Deep South carried over into Sunday. When Joseph Joiner initially took the lead on Sunday evening, Freeman settled into second before lapped traffic enabled Overton to work his way around Freeman and chase after Joiner for first.
After Joiner was eliminated in a crash and Overton sustained a flat tire, Freeman asserted his control at the front of the field. Despite this, there was no moment of peace for Freeman as he watched Overton quickly and methodically charge his way through the pack with a fresh tire from his rearview mirror.
Freeman’s resolve would be tested during the final restarts that saw Overton try everything possible to find grip on the top line. He ultimately withstood the intense challenge provided by Overton to score what he believes is the most notable victory of his young career to date.
Drivers like Overton have served as an inspiration for Freeman as he has developed his talents on dirt tracks around the United States. Being able to fend off Overton in such a notable event like the Southern Showcase only made Sunday’s win more special in Freeman’s eyes.
“Props to [Overton],” Freeman said. “I hate that he had that bad luck there, but it’s better to be lucky than good [even though] we’ve had a really fast long run race car [all weekend]. [I have] to thank G.R. and Stacy Smith. This is awesome.”
Freeman is confident that his triumph in the Southern Showcase on Sunday will be a sign of things to come for him and Team 22 Inc.
While the duo is still ironing out their full plans for the 2023 season, Freeman knows he is going to see Overton and many other top Dirt Late Model competitors on a regular basis. By getting a win early together against stout competition, Freeman believes Team 22 Inc. is now more prepared to tackle a challenging schedule next year.
“[A lot of] the best cars are down here [at Deep South],” Freeman said. “In the races we ran the past two weeks, we weren’t quite where we needed to be. The group of guys that are with me this weekend believe in me, but we all believe in each other and what we’re trying to accomplish. We didn’t quit, we put our work shoes on and went to work.”
Along with his parents, crew and fans, Payton Freeman would like to thank all of the partners that support him and Team 22 Inc. in MPM Marketing, Coltman Farms Racing, Longhorn Chassis, SRI Performance, Swift Springs, Bilstein Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Collins Signs, Austin Kirkpatrick, Winning Edge Carburetion, Accu-Force Dynos & Testers, Gambler Transport, Victory Auto Sales, K1 RaceGear, VP Racing Fuels, Winter’s Performance Products, Arizona Sport Shirts, FK Rod Ends, KRC Power Steering and The Joie of Seating.
-MPM Marketing Press Release