JOANIDES TAKES TWO 2009 CHAMPIONSHIPS AT IRWINDALE

(10-03-09) - By Ed Hollowell - IRWINDALE, CA -Nick Joanides won his third Auto Club Late Model main of the year and, more importantly he took the series title for 2009. It was an historic win that made Nick Joanides the first driver to win two series championships in the same year and they were in the top two series at Irwindale, the ACDelco Super Late Models and the Auto Club Late Models.

Joanides came into the night leading Tim Huddleston by 34 points and finished fourth in the first 40 lap race of the night which was won by Mike Johnson with Huddleston second. In the final race Huddleston finished fifth while Nick won. It was Joanides third Late Model win of the season while Huddleston won six times but  Joanides was never out of the top ten and that consistency gave him the season title.

In the first race Joanides and Huddleston shared the front row with Mike Johnson being the fastest qualifier with a 18.837 second qualifying lap. Huddleston took the early lead and Johnson passed him on the inside on lap 29 and led all the remaining laps. The second race was gridded with the cars in order of the finish of the first race and Huddleston took off in the lead at the start in that race as well. Johnson kept pressure on Huddleston and nosed him out at the start line on the seventh lap but Huddleston took the lead back the next lap. That was as good as it got for Johnson in the second race as he began to slide back. Joanides passed Johnson on Lap 14 and Travis Irving passed him two laps later. Johnson would finish fourth. 

Huddleston lead until lap 21 when Joanides got tired of following him and took the lead. Joanides took a comfortable lead in a short amount of time and was six to eight car lengths ahead for most of the remainder of the race. The one time which Joanides lead was in danger was on a restart on lap 24 when Huddleston went into the first turn far too fast and actually passed Nick. He paid for his bad judgment by nearly hitting the wall in turn two where Joanides passed him to lead once more. Huddleston slid back to sixth place. By the end of the race Huddleston had recovered to finish fifth.

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