(9-23-06) Following their first win of the season in the last event, the Borenstein Racing Team was poised to make it two in a row. After qualifying, it appeared the team was well on their way as they were on the pole for the main event. The team had hoped for a boring wire to wire race from the pole. Nascar officials however made sure that would not be the case.

A controversial call by Nascar officials at the start of the race, in which driver Nick Joanides was penalized for “lagging back at the start”, forced him to move to the rear of the 31 car field. “I’ve raced for many years and have always known that the rule is, the pole sitter sets the pace. So how the pole sitter can be considered lagging back, is beyond me. I was in first, who could I be lagging back from? If anyone is ahead of the pole sitter, they are in the wrong place” questioned Joanides. With the race in progress, there was no way for the team to argue the call.

The series has been considered uneventful this season due to the extremely close competition, which has limited the number of on track passes all season long. The teams win in the last event was considered the most exiting race of the season, but Joanides may have outdone himself as he again produced another thrilling performance. One like no other had all season long.

The previous record for most cars passed in a 40 lap Auto Club Weekly Series event was 24 cars. Extremely upset with the penalty, Joanides blistered through the field with three wide passes down low, in the middle and up high to finish in the third position. His gain of 28 positions easily shattered the previous record for a 40 lap feature event.

From Irwindale’s press release and timing and scoring: “Nick Joanides started on the pole and received a stop and go penalty from the racing director on lap three. He returned from the third-mile second turn stop and go penalty and was last (31st). His climb to the front was amazing. Joanides was 26th on lap 7, 24th four laps later, 16th on lap 13, 14th on lap 14, 13th a lap later, 12th in another lap, 11th on lap 17, 10th a lap later, 9th on lap 19, 8th in three more laps, 7th on lap 26, 6th on lap 29, 5th a lap later and fourth at lap 32. He passed Kevin Callahan for third place on lap 38 and was about 40-yards in back of runner-up Huddleston at the lap 40 checkers.”

Joanides is no stranger to passing cars. In the Super Late Model division, he once passed 53 cars from the rear of the B-Main and the A-Main. And in the Southwest Series 2001 season, he passed 121 more cars than any other driver in the series. “I love passing cars, but it’s frustrating because I think we could have won our second race in a row if we weren’t penalized. Unfortunately by the time I got to third, the race was over and I never got the chance to race the leaders”, said Joanides.

The race was the final points event of the season. With their 11th consecutive top 10 finish, the Borenstein Racing Team was able to secure the fourth position in the final standings, just twelve points out of third. An amazing accomplishment for a first year team. The team got a late start to the season, completing their new car just 2 days prior to the first race. They suffered from the typical “new car blues”, experiencing several problems that left them 21st in the standings after the first three races. The team solved most of the problems, continuously improved their performance and did not finish outside of the top 10 for the remainder of the season.

Along the way, the team posted their first win, eight top five finishes and twelve top ten finishes in the fourteen race schedule. Their eleven race streak of consecutive top ten finishes was the best streak of any team in the series. With the exception of an ignition failure in the third race of the season, the team completed every lap of every race. The driver also took pride in the fact that they were the only team in the series to not have to replace a single body panel all year long.

Joanides commented, “For a first year team, the performance was incredible. We suffered from our late start early on, but once we resolved the problems, this team showed championship caliber consistency and performance. Most teams take years to win races and finish in the top five in the standings. The fact that we were able to do both in our first year is a testament to Jackson Race Cars and the determination of our team owner Loren Borenstein. What ever we needed, he made sure we had it. The sky really is the limit for the future of this team and I can’t wait until next year”.

It was announced this week that Irwindale Speedway will be hosting a 100 lap, non-points event on October 7th. Borenstein Racing will be competing.