When John Borneman III got caught up in a crash on a restart in the Nationwide Series race at Phoenix on April 9, it damaged the only speedway car that he had, and forced him to miss the upcoming race June 5 at Nashville.
However, he still had a superspeedway car in his shop.
"I bought it before Daytona from (Ray) Evernham. It was a car that was ready to be raced in the Fourth of July race last year," Borneman said.
Borneman, who races off of the money that he makes from his construction business, missed the Daytona race in February because the field was set by points and qualifying draw. But given the unpredictability of restrictor plate racing, that might have been a good thing. The car made it out of Daytona intact.
So Borneman and his team went out to Talladega, hoping to make the race. They only bought one set of tires qualified 30th, and had to wait another day as the race was rained out Saturday and pushed to Sunday afternoon. Usually Borneman can get Kurt Busch or Michael Waltrip's crew to pit his car at a companion race. But since the Nationwide race was after the Sprint Cup race, those crew members had a flight to catch.
That left Borneman with just four crew members, including crew chief Kevin Cram, who ended up changing tires. But oddly enough, that was a good thing.
Borneman ran with the leaders all day, but had to finally pit under green towards the end of the race.
"We only had four guys to pit the car, so we could only do gas or we could only do tires. We were running sixth or seventh there on that long run, and when we had to come down pit road under green, we lost the lead draft and were back with four guys, which was probably a blessing because of that big wreck at the end," Borneman said.
He steadily made his way up through the pack, and wanted to get to the bottom of the race track on lap 120 in turns 3 and 4, but couldn't. That was a good thing too.
Had he gotten to the inside, he probably would have been tagged by Jamie McMurray or Brian Vickers in that nasty crash that turned Dennis Setzer's car into a flying fireball. Instead, Borneman was on Vickers' outside and slid by the big wreck unharmed.
He finished fifth.
"For something like that to happen... just going there was a financial strap and to come up with a top five finish was just an emotional day," Borneman said.
Borneman plans to take his fixed up speedway car to Iowa on July 31, where he scored his previous career best last year.
"Our best finish was 16th at Iowa and we stayed on the lead lap all day. To come to Talladega, it's the great equalizer and it gives everyone a chance," Borneman said.