Borkowski to drive for Bill Davis in 2000 By Dave Rodman MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Oct. 18, 1999) Bill Davis' NASCAR Busch Series program will carry on with Mike Borkowski. Bill Davis said Monday that New England native Mike Borkowski would drive his...
Borkowski to drive for Bill Davis in 2000 By Dave Rodman
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Oct. 18, 1999) Bill Davis' NASCAR Busch Series program will carry on with Mike Borkowski. Bill Davis said Monday that New England native Mike Borkowski would drive his AT&T Pontiacs in 2000 in a full program in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division. Davis, who operates teams in both the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series, said Borkowski would attempt to qualify for races this weekend at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham and Oct. 31 at Memphis Motorsports Park; as well as the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series finale on Nov. 20 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"He'll be with us for a long time if everything works out like we anticipate it will," Davis said while taking a break from a test session at Memphis. Borkowski will attempt to qualify the No. 02 Bill Davis Racing AT&T Grand Prix at the .750-mile oval for the Sam's Town 250.
Davis said he was impressed with everything about the 26-year-old native of Middletown, Conn., who has mostly competed in a variety of primarily road-racing classes, and has won a number of championships.
"He was brought to our attention by the GM road-racing guys, who think he's got a ton of talent," Davis said. "We took a lot at his background and what he's done and we liked what he's done in the Trans-Am cars, and we like his attitude and how he handled himself. A lot of things made sense about doing this."
Like several other drivers in NASCAR's upper divisions, Borkowski got his start as a seven-year-old in Quarter Midgets. Borkowski won the New England States Quarter Midget Series championships four-out-of-five years in 1981-83 and 1985.
After winning a pair of Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) regional championships as a 17-year-old in 1990, he won SCCA Pro titles in Sports 2000 and Formula Ford 2000 in 1993-94 after being selected to receive the Valvoline Team USA scholarship won previously by current CART standouts Bryan Herta and Jimmy Vasser.
Since then Borkowski has driven in a number of different categories at a variety of venues, including SCCA Trans-Am, where he won two races and was rookie of the year in 1997, finishing third behind Tommy Kendall in the championship for Team Rahal. Most recently he drove for Team Rahal in the Dayton Indy Lights Series in 1998 and also placed third in the Rolex 24 At Daytona sports car race.
This season Borkowski has driven in two NASCAR Winston West Series races, finishing 20th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and 21st at Portland International Raceway. He attempted to qualify for the Save Mart/Kragen 350 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Sears Point Raceway in June.
Davis has already had a positive experience working with a driver from outside the stock-car ranks. Former Sprint Car champion Dave Blaney drives Davis' Amoco Pontiacs in the NASCAR Busch Series and will move up to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series next year to compete for Raybestos Rookie of the Year with his current team, led by crew chief Gil Martin.
Borkowski, who has a BA degree from Cornell University, impressed his new teammates last week in a test at Rockingham, in which he was within a half-second of Tony Stewart's Bud Pole Qualifying record in less than a day of track time.
"He ran really well there and we were real impressed that he got right up to speed," said Davis, a hands-on owner who attended that test as well. "Mike's got a tremendous advantage in that he's in proven cars that are running up front every week.
"He'll be working with (crew chief) Steve Bird, who's got a ton of experience working with young drivers; and he's got Gil Martin and Dave Blaney coming by and helping him whenever he needs it. Gil, in particular has been good about coming to him and talking to him about the changes they are making and why they should make them and what to expect."
Borkowski is running the slate of races this fall so he would enhance his chances of being approved for the season-opening NAPA Auto Parts 300 on Feb. 19 at Daytona International Speedway. Borkowski will drive a Pontiac from driver Ward Burton's NASCAR Winston Cup Series Caterpillar Grand Prix fleet in the Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series Georgia Boot 500 at AMS.