Record-Setting Joanides Plans Triple Duty In Toyota Showdown

By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR
January 12, 2010 - 4:31pm

Nick Joanides was California’s dominant force in NASCAR Late Model racing in 2009. He is the reigning NASCAR Whelen All-American Series California state champion, and was ranked third nationally. With momentum growing, he’ll look to continue that momentum on his home turf in less than three weeks.

Joanides, 39, of Woodland Hills, Calif., is the first to confirm he’ll enter all three divisions of competition in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown Jan. 29-30.

The event, to be televised live on SPEED and aired on SIRIUS NASCAR Ch. 128, is hosted by his home track Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.).

The mathematics for Joanides’ 48-hour racing weekend: Three races in three divisions for a total of 400 laps.

The all-out on-track assault is not expected to dilute the competitive strength of Joanides’ efforts. He became the first driver to sweep the NASCAR Lucas Oil Super Late Model and Auto Club Late Model division championships in the same season at the .500-mile paved and compound banked oval.

“In the Late Model and Super Late Model Showdown races, I think we have a very good chance to do well,” Joanides said.

That may be an understatement considering his staggering 2009 statistics. In 43 starts in both divisions, Joanides collected 17 wins, 38 top fives and 42 top 10s.

He’s also familiar with the NASCAR Camping World Series. He’s competed in the series eight times, including at the Irwindale track in 2004. His best finish in the series is ninth at Colorado National Speedway near Denver in 2004. He has two other top-10 finishes in the series. He’s also a veteran of NASCAR’s former Southwest and Midwest Late Model series.

“The Camping World Series race is a bit of an unknown,” Joanides said. “We’re not tried and true at the track in those cars. If we can get the car to handle, we’d like to try to win it.”

Team owner Joe Nava acquired a NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford Fusion for Joanides to drive in the 225-lap Showdown headliner.

Eagles Trucking, Loma Linda Children’s Hospital, Jan’s Towing and Procast quickly came on board to sponsor the effort. The car will carry the No. 70 in tribute to the late Chris Trickle. Trickle died in 1998 as the result of an unsolved highway shooting outside Las Vegas in 1997. Joanides was a frequent visitor to Trickle and his parents while the wounded driver was in a coma and hospitalized for months in nearby Inglewood, Calif., for evaluation by brain specialists.

In the Super Late Model and Late Model races, the cars Joanides will drive are owned by Loyd McGhee and sponsored by Jackson Race Cars, J&M Racing, Mr. Crane and Western Concrete Pumping.

The team’s co-crew chiefs are Tony Jackson and Dave Jackson. Crew members include Dean Klock, Monica Valencia, Joe Murphy and John Mahan.

The Jan. 29-30 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown will be highlighted by the 225-lap NASCAR Camping World Series all-star race. Each race winner during the 2009 Camping World Series season is eligible for a protected starting spot, as are the 2009 champions from each of NASCAR’s six regional touring series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion.

In addition to eligible 2009 race winners and series champions, the starting lineup will be determined through time trials, limited provisionals for NASCAR Camping World Series regulars, and the last-chance "Open" race that provides drivers one final chance to make the grid.

The 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown schedule also includes 100-lap Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model and 75-lap Late Model races.