RALEIGH – Saturday afternoon, Tony Summerlin of Granite Falls wanted a chance to win the Carolina Cash 5 jackpot that night, so he stopped at the PD Grocery & Deli on Sawmill School Road for a ticket. While there, he also purchased a $5 scratch-off ticket for the Ultimate Fan game, officially-licensed by NASCAR®.
It turns out Summerlin wouldn’t have to wait until the drawing that night to win big. He began to scratch his Ultimate Fan ticket outside the store in his pick-up truck. Summerlin knew he won something because the No. 27 in the play area matched one of his winning numbers. That’s when he began to reveal the prize amount.
“I said, ‘This doesn’t look like a normal $100,’ so I scratched the rest off,” he said. “The tears started rolling.”
Summerlin called his wife right away to share the news he had won $100,000.
“She couldn’t understand what I was saying,” he recalled. “I had to show her the ticket. My hand was shaking when I did.”
Summerlin collected his prize money, which totaled $68,001 after taxes, at lottery headquarters on Monday morning. A North Carolina native who has worked as a truck driver for 17 years, Summerlin said his win is a relief for his family.
“We’ve been blessed,” he said. “When we get done, the only thing we’re going to owe on is the house.”
Summerlin claimed the fifth and final $100,000 prize in the Ultimate Fan game, joining winners from Clinton, Jacksonville, Kannapolis, and Tobaccoville who also won top prizes.
Through June 30, 2011, Caldwell County education programs received more than $14.1 million in lottery funds. By law, lottery funds pay for teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, and need-based college scholarships and financial aid.
To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.45 billion for these initiatives statewide.