By Andy Villanueva

(06-06-09) Irwindale, California - An estimated 2,000 fans braved the wind and threatening rain clouds for one of the most exciting nights of racing. 

Nick Joanides swept the Twin 40's in the AC Delco Super Late Models while J&M Racing team owner’s son, Christian McGhee, became a first time winner in the Jan’s Towing Bandolero division Saturday night.


Nick Joanides, who posted the fastest qualifying time earlier in the day, returned to the winner's circle with a thrilling duel with Rip Michels to take the opening AC Delco Super Late Model race of the evening. 

Alex Haase, who drives for Sprint Cup series superstar, Kyle Busch, started outside of row one and jumped to the early lead. Joanides needed just 19 laps to pass race leader Haase. 

Joanides, Haase and Michels waged a heated battle for five laps in which the lead changed two times within the laps, several times they were three wide. 

The race however, shaped up to between Joanides and Michels with 17 laps to go when Michels dove down to the bottom of the track but could never get by Joanides. 

"I am getting tired of chasing Joanides," said Michels of his battle with Nick.  "I was getting to rough him up a little and we were banging and bumping a little for awhile."

At one point of the race, Joanides and Michels raced side by side bumping each other with neither giving an inch.  It was Joanides that would pull clear once Michels realized he would never get past the eventual winner.

"Michels made me work for that win tonight," said Joanides.  "The King of Irwindale is trying to get his crown back and he pushed me all race."  

Michels is the all time win leader at Toyota Speedway with 57 victories since the track opened in 1999. Joanides has racked up 25 wins since joining J&M Racing in August of 2007.

Dan Moore rounded out the top three to stay in second in the points.


Christian McGhee was the beneficiary of a late lap spin by leaders Aaron Anderson and Ryan Cansdale that saw both of them get sent to the back of the pack.

With that fortunate turn of events, McGhee was able to hold of Lexi Moore to win his first ever Toyota Speedway at Irwindale race in just his ninth series start.

Blake Dunkleberger was third, while Anderson eventually finished sixth and Cansdale was eighth. 


Nick Joanides made it a clean sweep for race team owner Loyd McGhee as his J&M Racing Super Late Model was hooked up from the start and cruised to a easy victory.

"I now know why I drive the car and my crew chief, Dave Jackson, makes the necessary adjustments," said Joanides of his win.  "I just drove a real fast car.  My crew chief made the changes and it made this Jackson Race Cars car easy to drive."

For Joanides it was his sixth victory in the division's nine races with the other three being runner-up finishes and propelled him to fourth Nascar's national point standings.   

Michels started on the pole and jumped to the early lead. He maintained it through the first 17 laps. Joanides however was just too strong and took over the top spot on lap 18 and checked out on the field.

"I have never seen a car that good," said eventual third place finisher Rip Michels.  "Nick had that car dialed in.  It is a once every four years spectacle to see a car run that good."  

 For Michels it was no consolation to finish third after battling Joanides for the lead early in the race only to have his car get loose as the race continued. 

Las Vegas invader and Kyle Busch driver Alex Haase ran a competitive second as he over took Michels on lap 26 and attempted to catch Joanides.

Joanides extended his AC Delco Super Late Model points lead to 62 points.  His nearest rivals are Dan Moore and Michels.  Joanides also leads the Auto Club Late Model standings at the track.