Nick Joanides and the Puskarich racing team’s day started off well as the car came off the truck fast, posting the 7th quickest time in the first practice session and improving to 5th fastest in the second session, both times on old tires while most teams were on new tires.
Nick was excited for qualifying, feeling like he had a shot at the pole with new tires on the car, however the qualifying tires the team put on were much smaller, causing the car to severely bottom out on his qualifying laps. Nick still posted the 10th quickest time in qualifying, his career best start in the West Series.
Nick knew the car was much better than it qualified and was really pumped up for the race and it showed as Nick wasted no time in moving to the front. By lap 4 he was up to the 8th position and by lap 15 had moved into the 5th position. On lap 19, be passed Brett Thompson on the outside for the 4th position, then while running the fastest lap times on the race track, chased down Austin Cameron for the third position. The two battled side by side for several laps before the caution flew at lap 28. After the restart at lap 35, the caution quickly flew again at lap 37 for an accident involving Nick DeFazio. Joanides restarted the race at lap 44 in the 4th position when, entering turn one, the right front tire blew, sending Nick hard into the turn one wall and ending his day.
“It’s such a huge disappointment” said Joanides. “The car was just awesome, we were just blistering by these guys and I was hardly working the car yet, but we were still faster than the leader”. “I just hate to have it end like that, I really think we had a shot at winning this thing, but when you blow a right front tire going into the corner, all you can do is hold on and pray, unfortunately, my prayers weren’t answered”. “We’ll try it again one more time next week”. Joanides will compete in the final event of the West Series season at Irwindale this Saturday night, then immediately leave Irwindale for the nine to ten hour drive to Tucson, AZ to compete in the Southwest Series race on Sunday morning.
More info is available at www.joanides.com