WS: Iowa: Blake Koch preview

GGRT Ready for Iowa Showdown Koch and Golden Gate Racing Team bound for Iowa Speedway NEWTON, IA -- It's the second big track on the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Series West Tour. The Golden Gate Racing Team is ready. Driver Blake Koch is ready and...

GGRT Ready for Iowa Showdown
Koch and Golden Gate Racing Team bound for Iowa Speedway

NEWTON, IA -- It's the second big track on the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Series West Tour. The Golden Gate Racing Team is ready. Driver Blake Koch is ready and the GodSpeaks.com #21 Chevrolet is ready for action at Iowa Speedway this Sunday as the drivers of the Camping World Series West go head to head with those of the East Series in the Long John Silvers 200.

"I am ready to get back on one of the big tracks," said Koch. "Phoenix was a big tease for me and I'm looking forward to racing the GodSpeaks.com #21 to the front at Iowa."

Sunday will be the first time Koch will lay rubber on the asphalt at Iowa Speedway, a .875 asphalt oval. Two weeks ago the West Palm Beach native that is the primary driver for the San Francisco based Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Development Team, drove to an impressive seventh place finish at Phoenix International Raceway. At that time, Phoenix was the longest, fastest track that Koch had ever competed on in his young racing career which includes driving Late Models, Speedway Trucks and Motocross.

Sunday's event will bring the NASCAR Camping World West Series and the East Series together in one big event. Both events are point races for their respective campaigns and the competition is sure to be fierce as the best drivers that are NASCAR's stars of tomorrow come together.

"This will be a good test for us and a good test for Blake," said Jim Offenbach, owner of the Golden Gate Racing Team. "This is where the East versus the West so we have the best of the best all together. We've been very impressed with Blake's progress in the series. He showed very well on his first big track in Phoenix and I'm confident that the GodSpeaks.com #21 will come home with a top ten finish in Iowa."

As he enters the fifth race of the 13 race season, Koch remains in a heated battle for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award in the Camping World West Series. Currently Koch is tied for the coveted honor with Paulie Harraka of New Jersey, each with 36 points. Jonathan Gomez is one point back with 35 rookie points. Golden Gate Racing Team is currently 9th in the NASCAR Camping World Series overall point standings with one top five finish and two top tens in four starts.

In the NASCAR Camping World Series, points are awarded in the championship standings and additional points are presented for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Title to all eligible drivers that have applied. Such points are awarded in a fashion what awards the top finishing rookie of each event with 10 points, the next highest finishing rookie 9 points and so on. At the conclusion of the season, the best 75 percent of each driver's finishes are counted to determine the recipient of the title.

"Running for the Rookie of the Year title was one of my foremost goals this year," said Koch. "To be tied for the lead like this is a blessing for me but I know I have my work cut out for me. I am in a tight battle with two of the best drivers out there and we have a long way to go. Whatever the outcome is, I know it is God's plan for me."

During Sunday's event, Koch will have the opportunity to compete against his fellow Richard Childress Racing Development Series teammate, Austin Dillon. Dillon is the grandson of NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner Richard Childress and has had earlier success in the showdown at Iowa. Last year Dillon won the pole for the event and finished sixth in the feature race. Koch recently raced with Dillon at the Phoenix event as well.

The Long John Silver's 200 is the only East-West combination event for the NASCAR Camping World Series that awards points. The format for the race includes a starting field of 44 cars, including provisionals. The first 38 cars will qualify through time trials. The remaining six spots will be awarded though the provisional process. The race is 200 laps with a total distance of 175 miles.

Sunday's event takes place at 4:15 Central Time. The race will be broadcast on National Television on Thusday, May 28 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on SPEED TV.

Following Sunday's event, the Golden Gate Racing Team will travel to Douglass County Speedway on June 6 for the Toyota/ BI-MART Firecracker 150 before returning to race in their own backyard on Saturday June 20 in the Bennett Lane Winery 200 at Infinion Raceway in Sonoma.

-credit: ggrt

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Paulie Harraka , Austin Dillon , John Long , Blake Koch
Teams Richard Childress Racing