Nick Joanides, who’s season started in flames at Phoenix, but came on strong lately with the third highest finishing average over the past six races in the Southwest Series and gained 9 positions in the point standings in the same span has been informed that his car is being sold and his car owner will not be returning to the Southwest Series in 2005, leaving Nick without a ride for next season.
After finishing 4th in the points in 2001 on a very limited budget, Joanides had high hopes for his first full season back in the Southwest Series, however the 2004 season got off to a rough start as a broken oil line in the first lap of practice at the first event of the season caused the car to ignite into a 150 MPH fireball, causing significant fire damage to the car and preventing the team from making the first race of the season and putting him way behind in the point standings. Nick also did not compete in the main event at the first Stockton race. That combined with bad luck in three consecutive early season races left Nick 20th in the point standings with just seven races to go.
Nick and his team made great strides heading into Infineon Raceway and charged from 40th to 4th before being taken out by another car with just two laps remaining. Although the final result was not positive, it was the first race of the season that Nick and his team showed they were going to be strong for the rest of the year and over the past six races, Nick has posted the 3rd highest average finish of any driver in the Southwest Series and amazingly finds himself 11th in the points with an outside chance at making the top 10 in points, while running two races less than any of the drivers in the top 10. With a little luck, Nick may be invited to the All-Star Showdown at the end of the season, however he has been informed that the car has been sold and will be picked up by the new owner immediately following the final race at Phoenix International Raceway, so even if he does qualify for the Showdown, he may not have a car available to compete in the event.
Nick also ran the final four events of the season in the Grand National West Series division and with another very under-funded team, but showed that he could be very competitive in that series as well. With an ill handling race car and several green flag pit stops, he salvaged a solid 16th place finish at Phoenix before heading to Colorado and charging from 15th to the top 5 before an engine failure relegated him to a 9th place finish. Nick then backed up that effort at Mesa Marin, charging from 10th to 3rd in just 19 laps and receiving excellent television coverage before a blown right front tire ended his day on lap 45.
“I knew the Tour deal was just for one season as the car owner told me he was selling everything at the end of the year” said Joanides. “I really want to thank Dexter Tuttle for the opportunity this year and Jackson Race Cars for all of their hard work” “We’ve run pretty good over the last several races which, considering we were on such a tight budget and didn’t do any testing this season, shows how good we really were, but unfortunately we got too far behind after missing the first race” “Atleast I think I’ve shown that I can consistently run in the top 5 and top 10 every week in both the Southwest and West Series and I know if I can get proper funding and actually do some testing, then I can step up to competing for wins instead of just top 5’s”
Nick is hoping that his performance this season will either help him find sponsorship to start his own team again or find an existing team that is looking for a driver to partner up with in either the Southwest or West Series divisions.
More information is available at Nick’s website: www.joanides.com or he can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org