OSWEGO, NY – Nearly six months after setting the all-time Novelis Supermodified track record at Oswego Speedway in the Graham Racing No. 99 Supermodified, the ‘Jersey Jet’ Joey Payne and Graham Racing have parted ways.
The initial announcement of Payne’s release was made on his personal Facebook account last Thursday, with the release confirmedTuesday morning through a statement from Graham Racing team owner, Ray Graham.
“As most know I have been running just a few races the last two seasons for work and family commitments,” said Graham. “I am returning to weekly racing at Oswego with my son (Kody), and made a decision to scale back to two full-time cars. Joey Payne is a great racer and friend and the decision was not made without a heavy heart, but at the end of it I felt that scaling the team back to two full-time cars is what was needed at this time.”
Payne piloted the No. 99 to sixth in the overall driver’s standings at Oswego in 2014, despite missing one main event.
The all-new Graham Racing machine came to life toward season’s end with Payne at the helm, driving to a main event win onAugust 9 before cutting a lap of 15.802 seconds in qualifying for the Budweiser International Classic 200, setting a new all-time non-wing Supermodified record at the Speedway.
Despite success with multiple teams in recent years, Payne now finds himself on the outside, looking in.
“I got a call that every driver dreads,” said Payne, in a statement on Facebook last Thursday. “Ray (Graham) is scaling back and I am out. I have to thank the Graham family and Xtreme Chassis team for a great ride to one win and a track record. Special thanks also to Pat and Terry Strong for the use of their 99.”
With the announcement coming in late February, the clock is ticking for Payne to attempt another ride for the 2015 season.
“I have talked to a few teams,” said Payne on Tuesday morning. “I love racing there (Oswego), it’s my home away from home, but I think it’s evident there is not a lot available.”
Reports surfaced late Monday night that Payne could potentially be tabbed as a Danzer Racing teammate to defending Mr. Novelis Supermodified David Danzer.
Payne again reported through Facebook that there is, “Nothing concrete. We are just talking about things,” in regards to a relation with Danzer Racing.
Oswego Speedway’s racing season will begin on Saturday, May 9 with the Speedway’s 65th annual opening night celebration presented by Planet Fitness and Mitchell’s Speedway Press with mains for the Novelis Supermodifieds, Pathfinder Bank SBS, as well as the 75-lap Richie Evans Memorial for the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series.
-Oswego Speedway Press Release. Photo credit: Bill Taylor