Run Has Joanides Upbeat
champion Virginia’s Philip Morris leads
BEACH, Fla. – Nick Joanides
figures it’s about time. By his calculation, the veteran driver from
Woodland Hills, Calif., has had enough bad luck on the race track to
last several lifetimes.
he’s enjoying the good times.
leads the Super Late Model and Late Model division points at Toyota
Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.). More importantly, his four wins and
three runner-up finishes in seven Super Late Model starts has him fourth
overall in the first release of the season for the NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series championship points standings.
had a great season so far,” said the 38-year-old Joanides. “We won
opening night and have been leading ever since. I’ve been very
fortunate to have a great owner in Loyd McGhee.”
has 324 points.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Philip Morris of Virginia
leads the series with 440 points. Connecticut’s Keith Rocco is second
at 407, followed by Nebraska’s Bill Leighton Jr. at 376 and Joanides.
Matt Buller, who races against Leighton at I-80 Speedway in Omaha, Neb.,
rounds out the top five with 315 points.
year, Morris became just the second driver in NASCAR Whelen All-American
Series history to win multiple championships. He started off his title
defense by winning the first four races he ran. Morris, from
Ruckersville, Va., has six wins and nine top fives in 10 starts at South
Boston (Va.) Speedway and Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.
had a good year so far,” Morris said. “It got us all pumped up right
at the beginning. We usually don’t start that good. It usually takes
us about five races to get a win. Now we’re just trying to get back in
our groove where we normally are at midseason.”
is coming off a 15th-place finish at South Boston in which he wrecked
while battling for the lead and has spent the week getting the car put
back together for Motor Mile this Saturday.
a position Joanides is all too familiar with.
went through 15 years of bad luck,” said Joanides, who is averaging a
series-leading 46.3 points per race. “You name it and it happened to
me. I went through all the years of heartache. Everybody kept saying,
‘your luck will change.’ And year after year, I would say, ‘When?
When I’m 90?’ “
the turn came just when he was ready to walk away. He had already
announced his retirement in 2006, but after running the NASCAR Toyota
All-Star Showdown in Irwindale, he got an offer from a car owner to stay
in the sport.
2007, he recorded seven top fives in 12 Super Late Model races, and won
five times in the track’s Late Model division. Last year, Joanides
rolled to 10 victories and 17 top fives in 21 starts. He captured the
Super Late Model title at Toyota Speedway, finished second to Jason
Gilbert in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series California state
championship and ended ninth overall.
also finished second in Toyota Speedway’s Late Model standings –
missing a sweep of the championships by just eight points.
last couple years have made up for all the bad years,” said Joanides.
hopes to continue that good fortune throughout the rest of 2009.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion also earns a secure spot in
the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, to be held at the Toyota Speedway
at Irwindale in 2010.
Under the points structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner will receive two points for every car in the event up to 23 cars. Second place will receive two fewer points, and so-on through the field. For example, if there are 23 cars, the winner receives 46 points, second gets 44 and third 42. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 30 points, second gets 28 and third 26. Race winners receive an additional five bonus points.