Northeast Midget Association action has been as hot in the off season, as it was on the track in 2011. Last week, 2003 NEMA champion and long-time open wheel standout Joey Payne announced that he will be returning full time to the circuit in 2012 aboard the Ed Breault owned #44.

“I had a decent year in 2011,” stated Payne. “We raced Oswego full time, finishing 6th in points with one win. We also had some bad luck, after falling out of the $10,000 to win Mr. Supermodified race with a flat while leading with 20 laps to go. The Classic was another let down, running 2nd for 100 laps and losing the rear end. Ed Breault asked me to drive the last three races of the year, and we didn’t have good luck either, but we had a blast,” said Payne.

With plans to run full time schedules with NEMA, at Oswego (Muldoon Racing) and quarter midgets with his son Anthony at Wall Stadium, Payne will certainly have his hands full this season. His goals are also very clear, “I’d like to win some races at Oswego, and make it back to victory lane with NEMA,” said Payne.

Citing his father as his biggest inspiration in racing & his family for their support, Payne also heads up a long list of NEMA competitors that credit their families with their success & passion for the sport.

As for the familiar, blue Breault #44, the car will carry its flagship Crown Collision banner, in addition to Seymour Enterprises, No Regrets Ink and Bell Helmets. Ed & Lou Breault will continue to take care of the car during the week, in addition to assistance from Mike Scrivani, Dave Shore & Jason Parsons.

Payne, with the addition of Adam Cantor, recent champions Randy Cabral & Russ Stoehr, and 2nd year standouts Todd Bertrand & Anthony Nocella will undoubtedly produce excitement for the fans in 2012.