FORGET THE MONKEY, IT’S KING KONG AS JOANIDES SUFFERS ANOTHER HEARTBREAK AT MILWAUKEE.
As the entire season has gone for Nick Joanides and his EDS Motorsports team, their performance and speed has been solid, but out of the ordinary problems keep preventing the team from getting the finishers they feel they deserve. Milwaukee was no different with a broken wheel being the culprit this time, ruining what was sure to be atleast a top 5 finish.
Nick Joanides headed to the historic Milwaukee Mile for the first time in his career. While the team battled a drive train vibration throughout practice, Nick very quickly adapted to the track with his second lap on the race track being among the top 5 speeds in practice. The team did a great job with the set-up and with only six laps of practice Nick was excited to be toward the top of the chart in speed. The vibration was tracked to the transmission and repaired. Nick was the 13th car to qualify and remained 5th through the first 18 cars when a car crashed causing a 30 minute delay, during which time shade covered the majority of the track, meaning faster speeds for the remaining qualifiers. Nick still ended up a solid 13th in qualifying.
From the drop of the green flag, Nick felt a vibration in the steering and had hoped that it was just an unbalanced tire from the car sitting in impound overnight, however the vibration became violent 10 laps into the race forcing him to pit under green. The team changed right side tires, however lost two laps in the process. The team discovered that half of the center of the wheel was missing with just two lug nuts remaining.
Nick battled with the top 5 cars for the remainder of the race and based on his lap speeds and where he was running on the race track, feels that had he been on the lead lap, would have more than likely ended up either battling for the win or at worst, somewhere in the top 5. Nick maintained his position two laps down to finish the 11th position and managed to gain ground on the top 10 in points in an effort to qualify for the All-Star Showdown at the end of the season. Nick currently sits 11th in the points, just 11 points out of 9th and 8 points out of 10th with two races remaining.
“It’s been a frustrating season” commented Joanides. “We’ve run strong almost every single week, but somehow we keep having unusual problems that we can’t do anything about”.
At the first race in Rockford, the loss of brake power took Nick out of third place with 50 laps to go. The second race in Colorado, a brake check by the leaders on a late restart caused the fan shroud to close up and overheat the engine while he was running in 6th. A flat tire at Shakopee, the third race ended a top 3 run. The failure of a virtually brand new rear end ended another top 3 run at Pikes Peak. A brake problem that the team wanted to check before the race, but was denied by Nascar because of impound rules ended up in a broken brake line that caused the car to catch fire in the fifth race at Mansfield. And now the broken wheel at Milwaukee in the seventh race of the season.
“I’ve had seasons with bad luck before, but never in every single race!” said Joanides. “We’ve had a top 5 or top 10 car in every single race this season, but as a result of things beyond my control, we have not even a single top 10 finish”. Never in my career have I gone more than 4 races without a top 10”. “The things that are happening are completely beyond my control, so I really don’t know what to do to fix it!”. I need to go find Godzilla and see if he can fight King Kong off our backs!”
The team heads to the Kentucky Speedway in two weeks for a restrictor plate race in a special combination event between the Midwest and Southeast Series and hopes and prays for better luck.