RPW Column: Payton Talbot’s Aiming For More Sportsman Success In ’23 With Eyes On The Future
Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – SOUTH NEW BERLIN, NY – The 2022 season was nearly perfect for Payton Talbot.
Multiple championship and nearly double-digit victories during last season had the South New Berlin, NY driver extremely excited about what could be on the horizon this coming year.
He has good reason to feel that way too. Just look at his run on Saturday night at the Fonda Speedway.
Talbot, who was last year’s point champion in the Sportsman division at the track on the strength of three victories, went out and led every single circuit of the season-opening event to score win number one of 2023.
Even a little precipitation during the event couldn’t slow Talbot’s visit to Checkered Board Square.
“Our car was pretty solid all night at Fonda,” Talbot said. “I can’t thank Fastline Performance and Bicknell for getting this car dialed in. When we pulled in under the rain delay, my crew said Tanner (Warner, who finished second) was pretty fast behind us so I knew I had to hit my marks and stay out of lap traffic.”
Even with coming out of the gate strong this season, Payton knows to keep things in perspective.
“Defending our title from one year ago is definitely the goal this season,” he said. “However, we know it won’t be an easy task. We’re going to take it one race at a time. Hopefully, we can stay consistent and have another solid year.”
There has been a big change with the Team Talbot program for 2023. That involves a switch in chassis manufacturers. For the last several seasons, the team has been utilizing cars out of Jerry Higbie’s HigFab Chassis shop.
For this season, however, they have purchased a brand new Bicknell chassis.
Why the change?
“I really enjoyed running Jerry’s cars and working with everyone at HFC,” he said. “We wanted to try something new and are really looking forward to seeing what this new car can do. The Bicknell has a few factors that are different for sure, but both are great chassis brands.”
No matter how good that equipment might be, or how good the driver behind the wheel is, it takes a group of dedicated people working tirelessly during the week, in the shop, to get a team prepared for action on race day.
Team Talbot is no different.
“That’s extremely important to us,” he said. “I’d say 95% of races are won in the shop. Thankfully, with Mike (Walton), we have the best opportunity to give it our all and continue to improve our program each and every week.”
The 14T crew is just as dedicated.
“I’d be lost without every single person that is on this team,” he said. “Without them, it wouldn’t be possible to be where I am right now.”
With the success he’s had over the last few seasons, closing out the 2022 season, Talbot was given a opportunity to compete in the Big Block Modified ranks, driving for Laudy Hoyenga, during the big Fonda 200 Weekend.
It was a dream situation for the young driver who was able to compete in both the Big Block and Sportsman events on the same weekend.
“What a weekend we had,” he said. “We were able to qualify for the 200 and finished 21st with the car in one piece. I was extremely excited just to qualify for such a big event. I am grateful for the opportunity from Hoyenga Racing and DKM Fabrication.”
Not to be outdone, Talbot also finished a solid fifth with the Sportsman main in his regular ride.
Is a Modified in the future for Payton?
“Unfortunately, the Modified we were supposed to be running full time this year didn’t pan out,” he said. “We’re going to run the Sportsman for the foreseeable future though we’re still looking to get in a Mod. Hopefully that will come soon, but until then, we will do what we can.”
With that, what does Talbot’s 2023 schedule look like?
“We will be running Utica Rome and Fonda Speedway again mostly,” he said. “I believe we’re going to try and run Super DIRT Week at the end of the year. If that’s in the cards, I would like to run a few Hoosier Tire races in between if possible.”
If 2022 was a dream-type season for Payton Talbot, he’s hoping he doesn’t wake up at all this year. Judging by his start, he and the entire Talbot team have the makings for another great year in 2023, putting more trophies on the mantle and big checks on the wall.
If they do, you know they’ll have earned each and every one of them.
From Payton, In His Own Words…
“I have to give a huge shout out to our sponsors for all of their support. Thanks for everything you do!
I am grateful for Ted’s Body Shop, Fastline Performance, Parker Excavating, Broedel Energy, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, Dig Race Products, Donath Motorworx, CC Carburetors, MIR Raceline, Bicknell Racing Products, Next Generation Graphix, Terry’s Custom Coatings & J&D Farms. Their support means the world to me!”