Joanides Falls Just Short in Second Race for Speed Wong Racing 

(04-21-07) After posting a solid fourth place finish in the prior event, driver Nick Joanides was poised to contend for the win in just his second race in the new Jackson Race Cars built Speed Wong Racing 21 car. Friday practice was rained out and with the limited amount of time available on race day, crew chief Dean Klock decided to make just one small change to the car based on the previous weeks performance. The change proved to be the right one as the team improved on the 10th quick qualifying run from the week before to 3rd quick this week. 

Nick and the team benefited from Irwindale's random invert as the top three cars were inverted, putting them on the pole for the main event. With the performance of the car and their starting position, expectations again were high. Unfortunately the Main Event did not get off to a very good start. Coming to the green, Nick set the pace, however the outside pole sitter, Andrew Phipps jumped the start, approximately 30 yards prior to the start line that is marked with a cone on the outside wall. The green flag did not immediately come out, therefore Nick assumed the start would not stand, however after nearly two full seconds and three cars having already passed in the outside line, the flagman decided to throw the green and allowed the horrible start to stand. This dropped Nick back to the fourth position before the cars reached the start/finish line. 

 Rip Michels, a two time champion and the all-time win leader at Irwindale Speedway, quickly charged to the lead and pulled out to a ten car length lead. Nick rebounded from the fourth position and moved into second on lap seventeen of the fifty lap event. He slowly closed the gap on the leader. The two drivers then pulled out to more than a five second lead over the third place car and more than nine seconds over the fourth place car. The two cars were evenly matched as they ran within three car lengths of each other over the remaining thirty laps of the event with both drivers posting virtually identical lap times lap after lap. Both cars battled lap traffic over the final ten laps and Nick came up just short with a second place finish.

"Rip's record at Irwindale clearly indicates he's one of the best there is at this track, but we were able to match his performance every step of the way. Both cars were nearly identical and it just came down to track position. Unfortunately we had it at the start, but for some reason, Irwindale officials allowed the outside pole sitter to get away with jumping the start and that allowed Rip to get by. Had Irwindale not allowed such an obvious jumped start, then we would have had the track position over Rip and probably won the event. I hate that this one got away from us for that type of reason, but on the bright side, we showed that we have one the dominant cars out here. This Speed Wong Racing team is just incredible and it's such a pleasure and an honor to be able to drive their cars. Their equipment and workmanship is second to none and tonight proved that this team is going to win a lot of races this season and I'm just one of the lucky guys that gets to be behind the wheel" commented Joanides.