HIGH POINT, N.C. (May 18, 2000) Five days after a race that was maybe the most contentious of his brief NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division career, Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Mike Borkowski was released Thursday as driver of...
HIGH POINT, N.C. (May 18, 2000) Five days after a race that was maybe the most contentious of his brief NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division career, Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Mike Borkowski was released Thursday as driver of Bill Davis Racing's No. 20 AT&T Pontiacs.
"We went into 2000 with very high expectations -- as we always do," Davis said. "This situation proved a little tougher than we anticipated. We just felt for the good of everyone involved, it was time to make a change. We needed to step back, re-evaluate and put the best possible product on the race track for AT&T."
Borkowski, 25, of Middlebury, Conn., will be replaced for the May 27 Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway by Davis' NASCAR Winston Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Dave Blaney. Blaney, of Hartford, Ohio, drove Davis' NASCAR Busch Series car for the last two seasons before moving up this year.
At last Saturday's Busch 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway, Borkowski was involved in on-track altercations with Lyndon Amick and Jason Jarrett that eliminated the latter pair after major contacts with the wall.
Borkowski, who has one top-10 finish in eight starts this season, finished 21st on Saturday, one lap down to winner Tim Fedewa, after running as high as seventh at one point in the event. He also tangled with drivers Bobby Hillin and Jay Sauter in the course of the race.
Borkowski's NASCAR 2000 season, which came after stints in SCCA road racing and the Dayton Indy Lights Series, a feeder division for the CART FedEx Championship Series, was marked by jagged peaks and valleys. He qualified for eight of 12 races and scored a best finish of 10th in the Touchstone Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.
He started the season on a high note by easily qualifying for the NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway and scoring a 22nd-place finish. He qualified a season's best eighth in the third race of the season, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and qualified 17th in his first visit to Darlington Raceway.
But he was markedly off the pace at other facilities. He was forced to take provisional starting positions three times, failed to qualify for one race and was replaced by Blaney in two others when he could not get his AT&T Grand Prix up to speed prior to Bud Pole Qualifying. Blaney also drove the AT&T car at Richmond, qualifying 21st and finishing 22nd.
Davis had previously announced Blaney would drive the car at Lowe's and Dover Downs International Speedway before making the latest decision. Borkowski was 37th in the points after the Busch 200.
Davis plans to have a replacement driver hired for the circuit's summer stint, in which the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series operate independently of each other. While Blaney could compete in the Carquest 300 at Lowe's and the MBNA Platinum 200 at Dover on June 3, Davis would need to secure a driver in time for the June 10 Textilease Medique 300 at South Boston Speedway.