Nick Joanides had high hopes heading to Colorado National Speedway, a track where he has never finished outside of the top 10. Joanides kept that streak alive in the West Series race on Saturday, but it wasn't easy.
The Puskarich Racing team concentrated on race setup in practice as the cars were being impounded after qualifying, so the teams had to qualify on race setup. Expecting the track to loosen up for the race, the team had the car slightly tight for qualifying and Joanides qualified in the 15th position. As expected, the track loosened up by race time and Joanides was actually a little too loose, but felt that with patience, his lap times would not drop off too badly.
Joanides quickly moved into the eleventh position and maintained that position through the next 50 laps while trying to save his tires. After a restart on lap 68, Joanides moved into the top 10 and was running down the cars in front of him and passed the 77 car for the sixth position on lap 85 when the engine dropped a cylinder, significantly reducing the power.
Down to seven cylinders, Joanides dropped back to the 13th position by lap 100 and just tried to hold on to the lead lap. As the top 10 cars began to slow late in the race with worn out tires, Joanides was able to pick off a few more positions and come home with a lead lap 9th place finish in his first short track race in the Grand National West Series.
Next week, Joanides will head to Mesa Marin Raceway, where he will again do double duty, running both the Southwest Series race on Saturday and the West Series race on Sunday.
"We had a good run going, and it looked like we were going to end up in the top 5, so it's disappointing that we lost a cylinder, but at least we made it to the end with a decent finish", commented Joanides. "At least we know that the combination of myself and the Puskarich Racing Team can be competitive and heading to Mesa Marin, which is my home track and a place where I've had a lot of success, I think we can run up front, I had my best qualifying run at Mesa earlier this year and I'm really looking forward to a great weekend, starting with my Jackson Race Cars/Colorfast Southwest Series team on Saturday and finishing with the West Series race on Sunday".
More info is available at Nick's website: www.joanides.com