2001 Season Review

Joanides finishes 7th at Tucson to claim 4th in the overall standings.

The JSI Motorsports team had an up and down day at Tucson with track conditions changing rapidly.  In the first practice session, they were one of the fastest cars, however in the second session, the car developed a push and they fell toward the bottom of the speed charts.  Again with no prior testing, the crew threw several setup changes at the car just before qualifying and posted a strong 12th place qualifying run among over 30 competitors.

At the start of the race, the car handled great as Nick moved up to 7th place by the 10th lap, however as virtually all of the cars experienced, the track loosend up and Nick just tried to survive from there.  He did just that and brought home a solid 7th place finish and more importantly, once again gained one position, to finish fourth in the final point standings.

After a rough start to the season, Nick Joanides and the JSI Motorsports team charged all the way up to fourth in the final point standings in his first full season in the Featherlite Southwest Series Standings.

The season got off to a rough start for the team with only two top 15 finishes through the first eight races which had Nick in 15th in the point standings. The team rebounded from the early season bad luck with only one finish out of the top 15 in the final eight races with that one being a 17th due to an electrical fire with four laps to go while running 5th at Madera.

Nick owes his success to the hard work of his team, Jackson Race Cars and his engine builder Ed Hansen. Nick funded the entire season out of his own pocket, which prevented the team from doing any testing the entire season, yet Jackson Race Cars gave Nick cars capable of running in or near the top 5 in virtually every race and did so on an extremely limited budget. Jackson Race Cars definitely made a lot out of very little. Ed Hansen's experience with his championship motors for Steve Portenga proved extremely valuable to Nick as the motors had awesome power and ran flawless all season long. Each and every team member worked their tails off and stayed dedicated to Nick and the team even though they had offers of more money elsewhere. Although Nick could not reward them financially, he is extremely pleased that their work was rewarded with such a good finish in the standings in one of the most competitive series in NASCAR. The team would also like to thank all of the Nascar officials for doing such a great job at keeping the series on a level playing field. Nick knows that without their hard work, there is no way the team could have competed as they did on such a limited budget.

Nicks future plans are up in the air right now as he realizes he can not afford to compete at a top level, which is why he is being forced to sell the team. Nick does hope to find an opportunity to keep racing in 2002 and will continue to explore other possibilities to do so.


2001 Results

2-4-01 Phoenix  41st 21st 95/100 Stripped Lug on pit stop
3-24-01 El Cajon  15th 17th 113/125 Overheating while in 10th
4-21-01 Irwindale 30th 13th 148/150 ----
5-6-01 Las Vegas 15th 5th 252/250 ----
5-20-01 Pikes Peak 24th 31st 25-100 Broken Lifter in Engine in 17th
6-2-01 Mesa Marin 19th 3rd 125-125 ----
6-9-01 Irwindale 24th 23rd 111-150 Accident Lap 40 while in 10th
6-23-01 Sears Point 32nd 30th 55-64 Accident Lap 55 while in 7th
6-30-01 Mesa Marin 20th 6th 150-150 ----
7-28-01 Madera 17th 17th 121-125 Electrical Fire while in 5th
8-18-01 Colorado 6th 6th 150-150 ----
9-1-01 Irwindale 26th 12th 149-150 ----
10-13-01 Las Vegas 26th 8th 67-67 1.5 Mile Superspeedway
10-20-01 Mesa Marin 11th 4th 150-150 Broken Rear End/Last Lap
10-25-01 Phoenix 36th 11th 125-125 ----
11-3-01 Tucson 12th 7th 152-150 ----

Other notes of interest:

The team finished the season third in total laps completed over the course of the season. 

The team had only 1 official DNF for the entire season, which tied them for first in that category.

The team also gained more positions over the course of the season than any other driver with a net gain of 152 positions over the course of the season (starting position vs. finishing position), which is 121 more than any other team.

Over the final eight races, the team posted the second highest average finishing position, missing first in that category by just a .25 average finishing position per race.


Summary of 2001 Races

PHOENIX, February 24th, 2001.

The team struggled heavily in practice, posting only the 42nd fasest time in practice.  The team then changed virtually everything on the car just before qualifying, which produced an increase of 1.5 seconds in the qualifying speed, however work was still needed as their lap time was only the 29th quickest, an improvement, but not good enough to make the field on time.  The team ran the qualifying race and finished second to transfer to the main event.  The team made more changes prior to the race which proved beneficial as they improved from their 41st starting postion to 18th by the 40th lap at which time they made their first pit stop only to have a lug nut strip on the left rear wheel, causing the team to several laps in the pits.  The end result was a disappointing 21st place finish.


El Cajon, March 24th, 2001.

The day started off well as the team was among the top 5 cars in practice.  Nick felt he had a shot at the pole in qualifying, however the car was just a little too loose as Nick got very sideways off of turn 4 on his qualifying lap, losing significant speed, however still managed to post the 15th quickest time out of over 35 cars entered.  That starting position proved costly however as on the third lap of the race, a car in front of Nick spun and Nick made slight contact with one of the cars, closing off the air flow to the raidiator.  Nick pitted to open up the air flow, however lost a lap in the process.  Nick challenged the leaders for the next 90 laps trying to get his lap back as he stayed close to the leaders, however the car was still running to hot, forcing Nick to make another pit stop, to open up the air flow even more, however this time an official decided he wanted the team to removed several body parts before allowing them to return to the track, costing Nick an additional 11 laps.  The end result was another disappointing 17th place finish.


Irwindale, April 21st, 2001.

The teams lack of adequate funding showed in this race as the top teams in the series spent many days testing at this track.  The team had the car good on the long runs, however could not come up with a good qualifying set up in the short amount of practice time they had on race day as they could only qualify 33rd, again having to run the qualifying race to transfer to the main event which they successfully did.  Nick started last in the 30 car field and tried to be patient at the beginning of the 150 lap race, however the leaders with open race track quickly caught Nick, however he picked up his pace and managed to say in front of the leaders for several laps until a car spun, forcing Nick to slow down to avoid it, at which time the leader passed Nick to put him one lap down.  The final 80 laps went without a caution and Nick was able to stay close to the leaders as they lapped the cars, Nick was gaining positions.  The car was fast enough to run in the top 5, however due to the lack of funding to test prior to the race, the poor qualifying position hurt their overall chances due to poor track position.  The team did however manage to pass 17 cars to finish 13th.


Las Vegas, May 6th, 2001.

Again, even without testing, the team felt they had a shot at the pole, however a gear change just before qualifying, caused the car to over-rev in Nick's qualifying lap, yet even with the car sputtering from the mid point of the straight aways, Nick still posted the 15th fastest qualifying time among over 40 competitors.  Again, the lack of testing, due to limited funds hurt the team as this surely could have been discovered with proper testing.  Nick stayed patient at the beginning of the race, picking off several positions and moving into the top 10 around the midway point of the race, when cars spinning in front of Nick forced him to slow, however he was hit from the rear and sandwiched between cars.  While trying to escape from the mess, he lost one lap.  Again, Nick was fast enough to run with the leaders for the remainder of the race, while the leaders were lapping cars, Nick was passing them for position.  Nick still came home with his best finish of the year in 5th place.  While a 5th place finish is good in any book, the team was still a little dissappointed, knowing they had a car the could have contended for the win.


Pikes Peak, May 20th, 2001.

Unfortunately, this weekend was too eventful.  The teams hauler blew an engine on the way from Calfornia to Colorado.  A snow storm held the team an several others in Colorado for an extra day.  Ok, about the race.  Nick and the team had never been to the 1 mile superspeedway before, however they quickly adapted, as even without testing, they managed to post the 24th quickest qualifying time among nearly 50 competitors.  In the final practice before the race, Nick improved on the track he had never been on and managed to post the 6th quickest lap in practice.  Hopes were high for the race and the team was riding the momentum from the previous week in Las Vegas, however a broken lifter in the engine caused the engine to break and ended the teams day after only 25 laps.


Mesa Marin, June 2nd, 2001.

Again, the lack of testing hurt the team in qualifying as they could only post the 19th fastest time.  A track that has seemed to always steal wins away from Nick in the past with just about anything imaginable, from accidents, to flat tires, to oil on the race track, you name it.  Nick knew if he could avoid any problems, he would have no problem moving through the field and he did just that, moving from his 19th starting position all the way to 2nd place when the final caution flag flew with 9 laps to go.  Nick thought he might have a shot at the leader, however a cut right front tire on the final caution prevented a shot at the win.  Nick was still however able to hang on for a solid 3rd place finish.


Irwindale, June 9th, 2001.

Same old story, no testing, no speed in qualifying. The team felt good with their race set up, however could only qualify 24th, which proved costly as a multi-car accident just in front of Nick was un-avoidable as Nick tried to go low, was clipped by a car coming down the race track, tearing off the right front suspension and flattening both right side tires.  The team worked the tails off to replace the suspension, but lost 39 laps in the pits.  Nick returned to the track with a beat up race car, however was still fast enough to not lose another lap on the track.  End result, a disappointing 23rd place finish.


Sears Point, June 23rd, 2001.

Back to the wine country.  Nick and the team felt like their changes would be good as their previous race there, they went from 39th to 4th in only 29 laps.  Again the team could not test there due to the lack of funds, so they based their set up on the previous race, with the only difference being the gearing in the car.  Nick felt that a taller gear would benefit him, but he was wrong and since the team did not test prior to the race, they ran that gear in qualifying and could only post the 42nd fastest time.  The team changed the gear for the final practice and picked up over 2 seconds on the race track to post the 10th fastest time in the final practice.  Nick, again started deep in the field and had steadily passed cars to move into the top 15 by lap 32 when a flat tire forced the team to make an extra pit stop for left side tires.  Nick restarted the race in 29th position and worked his way to the top 10 when the final caution flew with just 10 laps remaining.  On the restart, two cars got together in front of Nick and while he tried to avoid them, one of the cars caught the left front of the car, causing the hood to fly up into the windshield and breaking a steering arm on the left front suspension ending his day.  A great run, resulted in a disappointing 30th place finish.


Mesa Marin, June 30th, 2001

At Mesa Marin, the team again was quick in practice, however was still only able to qualify 20th, thus again starting deep in the field.  At the start of the race, the car was too loose and around lap 50, they pitted to make adjustments to car.  While the adjustments made only a minimal difference, Nick came back on the track in 27th place.   He had move up to 15th place when a caution flag came out.  On the restart, a car in front of Nick missed a shift and Nick went low to avoid him and that car came down right in front of Nick, forcing him to slow and in turn got passed by about 8 cars, putting him back to 23rd.  Nick maintained his patience and had move to 6th place by lap 128.  By then however, Nick had used up the tires getting through traffic and while he had one of the fastest cars on the track, with the tires being so worn out, it was very difficult to pass.  Nick staged a furios battle for 5th place over the final 22 laps running side by side with the 5th place car, but was unable to get a run off the bottom of the corner with worn tires and had to settle for 6th. 


Madera, July 28th, 2001

While the team once again was horrible in qualifying, Nick knew the car would be good in the race.  He qualified only 25th and had to start towards the rear of the field as usual.  Nick however charged through the field and was up to 5th place when the final caution flag flew with 6 laps to go.  As the field got the one to go signal for the green flag, an electrical short caused some of the wiring to catch fire and the car lost power as a result with four laps to go, spoiling a great run for the team.  Nick ended up 17th in the finishing order.


Colorado, August 15th, 2001

The JSI Motorsports team has been horrible at qualifying all season long, due to the lack of funding and not being able to test at race tracks.  At Colorado, however, due to the distance from California, very few teams tested at the track, putting Nick and the team on equal ground.  Nick qualified just five hundredths of a second off the pole to earn the 6th starting position.  Nick cruised for the first 75 laps of the race to save the car for the end of the race.  By lap 75 he had fallen nearly a half a lap behind the leaders, but then turned it up, passing the 5th place car by lap 85, then took fourth place on lap 102, third place by lap 113 and was within 10 car lengths of the two leaders and running lap times 3 to 5 tenths of a second faster than the leaders.  At lap 118, Nick caught second place and pulled along side off of turn two, however a lapped car forced the second place car to go low into the corner and running into Nick, spinning out the other car.  Nick was completely sideways, however saved the car and came to the yellow flag in second place.  NASCAR, however decided to black flag Nick and put him at the rear of the field.  While the fans booed Nascar's decision, there was nothing Nick or the team could do and was forced to restart the race with 13 laps remaining in 22nd place.  Nick made a serious charge at the end of the race and passed 16 cars to finish 6th.  


Irwindale, September 1st, 2001

Saturday at Irwindale was just one of those days where, what could go wrong, did go wrong.  When they arrived at the track, one of the tie downs for the car on the top rack had broken with the car launching forward in the trailer and landing on the pit box.  The team practiced fairly well posting times in the top 15 all day, however drew a horrible "2" in the qualifying draw.  Just before Nick went to qualify, there was an accident on the track and the track still had the clean-up sand in turn four, causing Nick to get extremely loose in his qualifying run and qualified only 35th out of 40 cars entered. The team still felt confident that the car was good enough to run up front, however NASCAR decided to impound the cars after qualifying which prevented the teams from checking the cars before the race. Unfortunately that proved very costly for Nick and the team as the rear tires changed so much, they gained over an inch of stagger, causing the car to be extremely loose all race long.  Nick did however manage to move from his starting position at the rear of the field to an un-eventful 12th place finish, but a huge disappointment when the team had worked so hard and finally got the car right to consistently run up front, but due to the circumstances beyond their control, it just wasn't meant to be.


Las Vegas (Superspeedway), October 13th, 2001

Having never before been to the Superspeedway at Las Vegas, Nick and the team put on one heck of a show.  As the whole season has gone, Nick could not afford to do any testing prior to the race weekend.  The team practiced reasonably well, posting the 22nd fastest time among nearly 50 competitors as the track.  They made some changes just before qualifying and actually lost just a little, qualifying 26th.  Nick had a blast in his first race where the draft plays a major role.  Nick started 26th and by lap 5 used the draft to pass cars left and right and moving into 17th place when the first caution flew on lap 5.  The team then made their mandatory stop and took gas, when most cars did not (just to be safe) and came back on the track in 19th place.  When the green flag flew, Nick got a good jump, passing two cars on the outside and then found him self in the middle of a 20 car pack.  The top 8 cars had pulled away, with 9th through 26th running nose to tail and side by side.  Nick was running 17th and used the draft to slice through the pack of cars and to the front of the pack and was in 9th place with 10 laps to go.  Unfornately, while Nick was having so much fun in that pack of cars, the leaders had opened up a big lead. Nick posting lap times in the top 5 and was able to run down the 8th place car and get by with two laps to go, passing far more cars than any other driver to finish 8th in his first ever race on a track larger than one mile.  In the process, Nick moved up to 7th in the standings after being 15th only 5 races ago and is now only 37 points out of 4th and 119 out of 3rd.  


Mesa Marin, October 20th, 2001

Once again, Nick and the JSI Motorsports team with their Jackson Southwest Series car and Ed Hansen built motor, were so close to claiming victory.  Nick qualified a suprising 11th for the event at Mesa Marin, which for this team was like winning the pole considering their average starting position for the season was worse than 23rd due to the lack of testing.  Nick tried to pace himself, however several caution flags for oil on the track made it difficult as Nick needed long green flag runs to gain ground.  Nick did however steadily move toward the front and found him self sitting 3rd with less than ten laps to go and in a three way battle for the lead.  On the final lap, the second place car made contact with the leader and Nick went to make a move down low off of turn two, however just then, a seal on the rear end broke, dumping oil all over the right rear tire, causing Nick to get extremely loose off the corner.  Nick did manage to save the car and limp it home to a solid fourth place finish.  


Phoenix, October 25th, 2001

Nick and the JSI Motorsports Team with their Jackson Race Car and Ed Hansen motor finally got Phoenix figured out.  The past three races for the team at Phoenix, all resulted in 21st place finishes.  The race weekend appear to be on track for another similar finish as Nick made his qualifying attempt only to have the motor be very weak, as Nick was only able to post the 46th fastest time among 49 cars, forcing Nick to use a provisional and start the race from the rear in the 36th position.  The team found that something was wrong with carbuerator.  They borrowed a carb. from Bobby Lyon for the race, which was an older style carb, which generally is up to 10 horsepower less than the newer versions.  Nick paced himself for the first portion of the race, however by lap 29 had moved into the top 20.  On lap 55 the team made their first stop, however since they were unable to scuff in tires in practice, they were forced to put sticker tires on the car.  With the new tires, the car was extremely loose, however from lap 85 through lap 100, Nick was charging through the field, running lap times two tenths of a second per lap faster than the leaders.  Nick worked his way into the top 10 when a caution flag flew with 25 laps to go.  The team opted to pit again and put back on the first set of tires since the second set was too loose.  Nick went back on the race track in 18th place, however another quick caution flag came out with only 8 of the remaining 25 laps run under green.  Nick did however manage to move up to the 11th position by the time the checkered flag flew, still running faster than the leaders.


2004 Season Summary

2003 Season Summary

2002 Season Summary

2001 Season Summary