2004 SEASON SUMMARY
JOANIDES FINISHES 8TH IN FOUR WIDE BATTLE AT TUCSON!
Nick Joanides took another step forward in his pursuit for a top 10 finish in the Southwest Series standings. Just six races ago, Joanides was 20th in the point standings. After his 8th place finish on Sunday at Tucson Raceway Park, he has moved into the 11th position, just 116 points out of 10th. FULL STORY
JOANIDES PARKS ILL HANDLING RACE CAR AT IRWINDALE
Nick Joanides tried to bring a knife to a gun fight and quickly learned he was way overmatched! After their primary short track car was destroyed at Mesa Marin a week ago, the Puskarich Racing team was forced to bring their superspeedway car to Irwindale. Nick knew going in that the odds were not good for a strong run as the car was not made for short tracks and the engine was setup for a two mile superspeedway and lacked the bottom end power need for a short track like Irwindale. The team worked hard to free up the car in practice, but to no avail. Surprisingly to the team, they still managed the 15th fastest time in qualifying, but that was on fresh tires, which tend to help an ill handling race car for a few laps. At the start of the race, Nick discovered that they still had not figured out the setup for this car on this type of track, therefore he just tried to hang on until the half way break so the team could make one last attempt at adjusting the car. Unfortunately, the adjustments actually made the car worse and at lap 88, Nick decided it was time to call it a day and brought the car behind the wall. "It wasn't worth taking the chance on getting wrecked" commented Joanides. "We were way off and with this being the last race, guys are out there running for points and a championship and I just didn't want to get in anyone's way, or get caught up in an accident and wreck the car for a 20th place finish"
Nick Joanides and the Puskarich racing team’s day started off well as the car came off the truck fast, posting the 7th quickest time in the first practice session and improving to 5th fastest in the second session, both times on old tires while most teams were on new tires. FULL STORY
JOANIDES BARELY SURVIVES LAPPED TRAFFIC FOR 9TH PLACE FINISHNick Joanides took another step forward in his pursuit for a top 10 finish in the Southwest Series standings. Just six races ago, Joanides was 20th in the point standings. After his 9th place finish on Saturday night at Mesa Marin Raceway, he has moved into the 12th position, just 32 points out of 11th and 116 points out of 10th. The 9th place finish however was a disappointment for the team as they felt had it not been for lapped traffic, they would have easily finished in the top 5. FULL STORY
Nick Joanides had high hopes heading to Colorado National Speedway, a track where he has never finished outside of the top 10. Nick kept that streak alive in the West Series race on Saturday, but it wasn't easy.
The Puskarich Racing team concentrated on race setup in practice as the cars were being impounded after qualifying, so the teams had to qualify on race setup. Expecting the track to loosen up for the race, the team had the car slightly tight for qualifying and Nick qualified in the 15th position. FULL STORY
LOOSE RACE CARS SLOW JOANIDES AT PHOENIX
Nick Joanides headed to Phoenix to compete in both races of the double header at Phoenix International Raceway running in the Southwest Series and West Series. Nick's day was very hectic on Saturday as practices for both series ran consecutively, therefore he had to run from garage to garage after each session. In all, Nick spent a total of three and a half hours in race cars on Saturday alone. FULL STORY
Nick Joanides is in for a very busy month ahead as he is scheduled to compete in 8 races over the next month throughout four states at 5 different race tracks for a total of 1,175 laps. (more than his entire season has consisted of so far!) FULL STORY
JOANIDES WINS POWERADE AWARD AT COLORADO
Nick Joanides and the Colorfast/Jackson Race earned the Powerade Move of the Race Award at Colorado National Speedway for passing the most cars during the race, to improve on what had actually looked to be a great day, then suddenly turned to a horrible day, but resulted in a solid run. FULL STORY
JOANIDES TAKEN OUT OF ANOTHER SOLID FINISH
Nick Joanides and the Colorfast/Jackson Race cars team headed to Stockton with high hopes and looking to continue their march toward the top 10 in the standings after having run solidly in the top 5 in the past two events. The team was again among the fastest cars in practice, however the qualifying set of tires loosened up the car, but Nick still managed to post a solid top 10 qualifying run. At the start of the race, Nick quickly charged forward and by lap 15 had settled into the 6th position. FULL STORY
JOANIDES STARTS LAST AND DRIVES HOME TO A 5TH PLACE FINISH AT MADERA.
Going into Madera, Nick Joanides and the Colorfast/Jackson Race Cars Monte Carlo have had they type of season you wouldn't even wish on your worst enemy, having bad luck find them in every conceivable way throughout the season. The team dedicated alot of time to making changes to the car during the off weeks to improve upon their sub-par performances at the last few oval races and in practice it appeared to be paying off as they were among the top 5 cars in practice times. FULL STORY
JOANIDES CHARGES FROM 40th TO 5th ONLY TO GET TAKEN OUT WITH 5 TO GO.
Nick Joanides and the Colorfast/Jackson Race Cars Monte Carlo had a nightmare of a weekend at Infineon Raceway. To start, Nascar apparently did not receive the team’s entry for the race and pitted them last in line, therefore instead of being teched in the top 20, they were last of 45 cars and did not complete Thursday’s tech until the next day, putting the team behind in getting out for practice. FULL STORY
Bad Luck Continues for Joanides at Irwindale!
Nick and the Colorfast/Jackson Race Cars team were looking to rebound after a couple of disappointing races in a row, but the struggles continued. The team tested a week before and discovered a bad steering rack in the car, which caused the car to push badly in the middle of the corners and pretty much wasted the test day. The team made the appropriate changes to the car, but with the lack of testing, were pretty far off on race day practice. They made wholesale changes to the car just before qualifying and did go in the right direction as they gained over 3/10ths of a second and missed the top five by just 2/10ths of a second, however with the field in the Southwest Series so competitive this year, that put Nick in the 25th position. Only 22 cars were taken from qualifying speeds, forcing Nick to run the Qualifying race in which the top four transfer to the main event. Nick started third and maintained that position throughout the qualifying race and transferred to the main event starting the race in the last row in 29th. The team started the race on sticker tires after using their qualifying tires in the qualifying race. With sticker tires, the car needed about 7 to 8 laps to come in. On lap 8, Nick started making his move and passed a couple of cars, however on lap 12, a multi-car accident happened just in front of Nick. With cars on both the inside and outside of Nick and the crashed cars blocking the track, Nick had nowhere to go and although the impact was not a hard one, it was just enough to knock a body brace into the radiator and ending his night after just 12 laps.
Joanides Happy He Followed his own Advice!
Back in February, Nick Joanides wrote an article preaching safety items to prevent injury to drivers from hard accidents and fires. While Nick himself admitted he had been guilty in the past of being lazy when it came to safety, after a hard accident at Irwindale a few years ago and an oil fire at Phoenix this year causing burns to Nick’s face, he has changed his thinking about safety and while his West Series debut was not what he had hoped for, he is very thankful for his safety equipment and the track’s “Safer Barriers” in the corners which more than likely saved Nick from serious injury.
Nick spent Thursday’s practice sessions getting comfortable in the West series style cars and made great gains. He qualified 22nd after only 10 minutes of morning practice, but felt confident with the car after the final happy hour practice. At the drop of the green flag, the car was tight entering the corners so Nick chose to put it on cruise control and wait for the first opportunity to pit and make changes to the car. Nick however, while in “Cruise control” still managed to pick up 6 positions in the first 10 laps, climbing to the 16th position, and was closing on a pack of cars running in the 6th through 15th positions which gave Nick confidence that once they freed up the car, they were going to be a contender. Unfortunately, on lap 11, Nick’s right front tire blew entering turn one, sending the car straight into the wall at over 170 MPH, which also knocked off the fuel pump and caused the car to burst into flames.
Nick Joanides of Woodland Hills runs from his burning car after it blew a tire and hit the wall on the 10th lap of the King Taco 200.
Nick quickly got out of the car and praised the head and neck restraint and the new helmet skirt he added after the fire in Phoenix as he was able to escape injury and burns, suffering only from a bruised knee and elbow.
Nick did not have any prior experience with hitting a wall at the California Speedway to refer to but commented “I can’t believe how hard of a hit that was, by far the hardest I’ve ever felt. If that was hitting a so-called “soft wall”, I’d hate to know what it would have felt like to hit a “hard wall”. I’m just thankful for all of my safety equipment and the fact that I had my head and neck restraint properly adjusted and all of my fire protection in place and the Nascar officials for their extremely thorough safety inspections of the cars”
While the result was far from what Nick had hoped for, he feels like he gained valuable experience at this type of track and was happy to be competitive his first time out. Nick would also like to thank Tom Puskarich for the opportunity to drive his car and his entire team for all of their hard work in getting the car to run good.
Tough Day for Joanides at Cajon
Nick Joanides and the Colorfast, Jackson Race Cars Monte Carlo seem to start off well as they posted times among the top five in practice, but as has been the case with the Southwest Series this season, the entire field is so tight and Saturday proved to be more of the same. Nick missed the pole by just 2/10th's of a second, but amazingly that put him 25th on the board out of 33 cars. Only 18 cars were taken through qualifying with the remaining cars being forced to run the qualifying race in which only the top two finishers transfer to the main event. Nick started the qualifying race in mid pack, however wasted no time in the short 15 lap event and was second by lap two when the caution flew. Nick took the lead on the lap 6 restart and drove to the win and earned his spot at the rear of the field for the main event. FULL STORY
Joanides Bounces to 9th Place Finish at Mesa
Nick Joanides and the Colorfast, Jackson Race Cars Monte Carlo had high hopes for Mesa Marin based on past performances. Off the trailer, the car was very twitchy in practice and Nick was at the bottom of the speed charts. The team made change after change and as is always the case, crew chiefs Tony and Dave Jackson continued to make the car better as the lap times continued to improve. They were not able to test one last change as practice had ended before they could return to the track and Nick only ended up 18th on the practice sheet. After much consideration based on the handling of the car, more changes were made and the Jackson's did an awesome job as Nick really picked it up in qualifying and posted the third quickest time in qualifying. Unfortunately with the new rules in the Southwest Series, the field is inverted at all short tracks and with the invert, Nick was relegated back to an 8th place starting position. FULL STORY
Tires Hurt Joanides at Madera
Nick Joanides and the Colorfast, Jackson Race Cars Monte Carlo looked to rebound at Madera after a huge disappointment at Phoenix. They new the toughest challenge would be just making the race, with over 30 cars attempting to qualify for just 16 spots. Qualifying times from first to 16th are typically very close and Saturday was no exception as the difference from the pole to not making the race was just two tenths of a second. The team spent practice just working on qualifying and it paid off as they posted their best qualifying effort in nearly four years with a 5th place run. FULL STORY
Season Starts in Flames for Joanides at Phoenix
Nick Joanides and the Colorfast, Jackson Race Cars Monte Carlo had high hopes going into Phoenix. With a brand new car and a new Ed Hansen engine, they knew they would finally have the horsepower to be competitive. As can be the case with many new cars, the team was prepared to work out whatever bugs may have needed to be fixed. With tech inspection out of the way, Nick got on the track early and had just completed his first warm up lap when all the high hopes went down the drain as an oil line ruptured, pouring oil onto the headers causing the car to be a 150 MPH blazing inferno down the back straight. The car was completely engulfed in flames and unfortunately for Nick, the flames made it into the cockpit and found their way up the bottom of Nicks helmet and caused second degree burns to Nicks face and neck. Nick was able to get the car slowed down before it spun in it's own oil and came to a rest just past the dogleg. FULL STORY
Flat Tire Spoils Top 3 Run At Mesa
Nick Joanides, Gail Chase and Jackson Race Cars entered their second race of the season in the Featherlite Southwest Series at Mesa Marin. After a strong run at Irwindale and the prior success they have had at Mesa Marin, the team was confident for a good run.
The day started well as Nick posted the 9th quickest lap of 38 cars in qualifying. Typically the inside line is the preferred line, however at Mesa Marin, the inside lane has been worn and the outside line turned out to be the fast groove for the night. At the start of the race, the outside line took off and Nick had dropped back to 14th by the time he could move up. Nick stayed patient and began picking off cars one at a time as well as avoiding the many cars that got turned around. An accident at lap 100 caused a red flag with Nick already up to the top 3 and running lap times faster than the leader. On the restart, Nick realized the right front tire was going down, however was still able to maintain a top 5 position, however with just three laps to go, the tire finally blew and dropped him from a top 5 run to an 11th place finish. "The car ran great and we were faster than leaders with a real shot to win, so it was a big disappointment to have another flat tire at Mesa" Joanides commented, referring to a flat tire while leading the race last season. "We keep cutting tires at this track while either leading or running in the top 3, I keep trying to talk Nascar into letting us run Fix-A-Flat, but they're not going for it!"
Joanides passes 14 cars at Irwindale
Nick was contacted by Lance Smith, owner of the #48 Nordskog Performance Products Nascar Super Late Model Team and was hired to drive this weekend at Irwindale Speedway. "We have sponsors coming to the race and wanted a driver of Nick's caliber to get the car up front and have an impressive run" said Smith. The car had a spec motor that was three years old and down by over 50 horsepower to the top competitors and Nick was only able to qualify 26th out of 30 cars. A bit embarrassing for Nick after a top 6 run in the Southwest Series Race. Nick knew the car would not be strong at the beginning of the race and just hoped to remain on the lead lap until the front runners wore out their tires. On lap 27 of the 75 lap race, the caution flag came out with Nick in 22nd position. Once the green flag flew, the leaders had worn out their tires enough and Nick began charging through the field up to the 12th position, less than a car length behind 10th place. Although not a finish that Nick is proud of, he did win the Hard Charger Award for passing the most cars and considering he was at a 50+ horse power disadvantage, it was some accomplishment to move that far forward. His finish was also the best finish of the season at Irwindale Speedway for the Lance Smith owned team.
Joanides Returns to the Southwest Series with 6th Place Finish
Due to a lack of sponsorship, Nick Joanides had not yet raced in 2003, however thanks to a last minute partnership with Jackson Race Cars and Gail Chase, he made his season debut in the Nascar Featherlite Southwest Series at Irwindale Speedway this Saturday, with sponsorship help coming from Colorfast and Kadee Construction. Nick and the team tested at the track last Friday with very positive results and those results continued to race day as they qualified a strong 13th out of 40+ cars. Nick knew the car would be strong at the end of the race, but chose to be patient in the early stages. By the mid-way point, he climbed to the 8th position. The final caution flag flew around lap 80. By lap 100, Nick had climbed into the top 5 when the transmission popped out of gear. Before Nick could discover the problem, he dropped back to 8th. At lap 125 through the end of the race, Nick's lap times were 3/10ths of a second quicker than the leader, however every time he gained ground, the transmission popped out of gear and continuously did so throughout the second half of the race. Nick did however manage a strong 6th place finish on the lead lap. "I'm really proud of this entire Jackson Race Cars team, the car was just awesome. Had we not had the problem with the transmission, I think we would have contended for the win. But all in all, I can't complain, it was a good run for our first race back this year!" Joanides said.
Joanides passes 26 cars at Irwindale!
Nick and the Jackson Race Cars Monte Carlo returned to Irwindale Speedway with high hopes after a strong run at Mesa Marin the week before. Nick posted the fourth quickest times in both practice sessions, however in qualifying, he got loose off of turn four and was only able to post the ninth quickest lap. Nick however wasn't worried as he knew they had a great race set up, and it showed. From the drop of the green flag, Nick charged straight to the front and was in the third position just fifteen laps into the race and easily caught the leaders. Nick knew it was a long race and put the car on cruise control from there as the top three cars pulled away.
During a caution on lap 70, Nick realized the right rear tire was going flat and was forced to pit. The team did a great job changing the tire, keeping Nick on the lead lap. With 26 cars still on the lead lap though, Nick was forced to start and the tail end of the lead lap in the 26th position. Nick knew, being that far back he had to be patiently aggressive to get back to the front. From the drop of the green flag on the restart, Nick began picking off positions one by one and sometimes two by two, going three wide on occasion trying to get back toward the front. By the lap 100 halftime break, Nick was up to the thirteenth position.
After the break, Nick went back to work and was up to seventh by lap 130 when the car started to get extremely loose, which the team found was caused by a cut left rear tire that had a slow leak. Nick managed to hang on to the car to bring home a sixth place finish and won the award for posting the fastest lap of the race. With his sixth place finish, Nick posted his 100th career top 10 finish.
Joanides returns to Mesa Marin with another Top 5 Finish!
Nick and the Jackson Race Cars Monte Carlo were among the fastest cars in practice and felt like they had a shot at the pole in qualifying, however due to 40+ cars on hand and limited time, the track did not allow a warm up lap before taking the green flag in qualifying. The team had not scuffed their qualifying tires expecting to get the warm up lap, however since they did not, the tires did not come in quick enough the reach their maximum potential. The team still posted a strong tenth place qualifying effort..
Nick cruised through the first portion of the race as the cars running in the top 10 were bouncing off of each other and racing like it was the last lap only 10 laps into the race. Once things finally settled down, Nick began picking off positions and had moved into the top 5 by the mid-way point of the race. Nick pitted on lap 100 for right side tires and an adjustment to try and tighten up the car just a little. Unfortunately the rear tires gained 3/4 of an inch of stagger, causing the car to be extremely loose. But even with the car as loose as it was, the Jackson Race Car Monte Carlo was still strong enough for Nick to gain two more spots and bring home a solid third place finish. Nick will return to action with the Jacksons next week at Irwindale Speedway where Nick will be looking to win and to set a milestone with his 100th career top 10 finish.
Joanides returns to action with a Top 5 Finish at Irwindale!
After missing several races due to financial reasons, Nick returned to the race track in Jackson Race Car's house car. "They called me Thursday night and asked me to drive it", said Nick. The deal came together late, but as always, Nick, Dave and Tony Jackson have always worked well together. The car started off a little tight and Nick was 11th fastest in the first practice. Changes made to the car before the next practice improved the lap times, however Nick was still 11th on the speed chart in the second practice. Nick backed that up with an 11th place qualifying effort. The car was still tight, so the Jackson's changed everything on the car to free it up, and it worked, a little too good. The car ended up being a little too loose on the exit of the corners, however was much better as Nick moved his way into the top 5 at race end, passing more cars than any other driver. "I was just happy to end up better off than the last race we had here", Nick said, referring to a horrible accident that destroyed their car back in June.
2004 Schedule and Results
DATE Series TRACK Qual ST FIN LAPS POINTS Notes 8-30-03 SWS Irwindale 13th 13th 6th 150/150 N/A Trans. popping out of gear. 10-19-03 SWS Mesa Marin 9th 9th 11th 147/150 N/A Flat tire lap 147 while in 3rd 1-25-04 SWS Phoenix 7th 7th 7th 20/20 N/A Qualifying race 3-13-04 SWS Madera 5th 6th 11th 125/125 23rd Over inflated tires 3-28-04 SWS Mesa Marin 3rd 8th 9th 150/150 18th ---- 4-3-04 SWS El Cajon 6th 6th 1st 15/15 N/A Qualifying race 4-3-04 SWS El Cajon 25th 23rd 22nd 81/125 17th Accident 5-1-04 GNWS California 22nd 22nd 29th 10/100 N/A Accident Blown tire lap 10 5-8-04 SWS Stockton 7th 7th 3rd 15/15 20th Qualifying race 5-29-04 SWS Irwindale 3rd 3rd 3rd 15/15 N/A Qualifying race 5-29-04 SWS Irwindale 29th 29th 27th 12/150 19th Radiator 6-26-04 SWS Infineon 43rd 40th 27th 63/64 20th Taken out w/1 to go while in 5th. 7-17-04 SWS Madera 2nd 2nd 2nd 10/10 N/A Qualifying race 7-17-04 SWS Madera 20th 22nd 5th 125/125 17th ---- 7-31-04 SWS Stockton 10th 10th 14th 124/125 16th Got spun while in 6th. 8/21/04 SWS Colorado 4th 4th 3rd 15/15 N/A Qualifying Race 8/21/04 SWS Colorado 25th 25th 8th 150/150 15th --- 10-3-04 SWS Phoenix 29th 29th 15th 98/100 13th Too Loose 10-3-04 GNWS Phoenix 21st 21st 16th 144/150 N/A Laps lost in pits 10/9/04 GNWS Colorado 15th 15th 9th 150/150 N/A on seven cylinders 10-16-04 SWS Mesa Marin 21st 21st 9th 166/167 12th --- 10-17-04 GNWS Mesa Marin 10th 10th 20th 45/150 N/A In 3rd, blew right front tire 10-23-04 SWS Tucson 15th 15th 8th 150/150 11th 3/8 Mile Oval 11-4-04 SWS Phoenix /125 1 Mile Oval