Self and the Golden Gate Racing Team rally from 30th to 8th in Phoenix
AVONDALE, AZ h11-13-10) -- The Richard Childress Racing supported Golden Gate Racing Team and Michael Self returned to action before one of the biggest audiences of the year last weekend at the one mile Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. The event was the final leg of the 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West campaign and was presented in conjunction with NASCAR's premier divisions including the Camping World Trucks, Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Below the glow of the Phoenix lights, Self took to the track for his second race as the new primary driver of the Golden Gate Racing Team. On the biggest track of the tour, Self carried the prestigious sponsorship of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma Center and Bay Bio Diesel aboard the #21 Chevrolet in the 3 Amigos Tequila 125.
Back in 2008 Richard and Judy Childress teamed with the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina for what will one day become the nation's most comprehensive institute for pediatric trauma. The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma will focus on key areas in treatment, education and training, research and prevention of pediatric trauma. At this time the Institute is in the development stages following the early support of the Childress family and Richard Childress Racing which is a key partner with the Golden Gate Racing Team.
Since he was just a child, Self has always admired Childress, one of NASCAR's most recognized team owners that fields current Sprint Cup drivers Kevin Harvick, Clint Boyer and Jeff Burton. The Phoenix event marked the first time that Self met Childress and had the opportunity to display his driving talent while racing with his grandson, Ty Dillon, who joined the GGRT for the event.
"Getting to meet Richard Childress was almost like a dream come true," said Self. bI was star struck at first and couldn't believe I was shaking his hand but he's was super nice and easy to get along with and it was easy to settle in and be really comfortable around him. He gave us some great suggestions and advice that we're going to take him up on over the next few months and continue working with him and improving on every part of my racing career through him."
Self illustrated his ability to rally to the front in the Phoenix event. In the days prior to the race he qualified deep in the field, logging the 30th position in the ranks with a top speed of 124.09. Despite the adversity in the preliminary event, Self showed what he was made of as he charged his way towards the top of the field, twice, to score a top ten finish.
"The car was great all weekend, even in qualifying. I just didn't hit my marks right and turn my best lap," said Self. "But this team worked incredibly hard throughout the entire weekend making sure I had a car to perform and that's exactly what we got."
As he charged his way through the field in Saturday's race, Self had a set back between the green flag and the checkered when he fell victim to a spin and lost several positions. It was then that the 19-year old Utah resident rallied back to the top ten to finish in the 8th position when, six spots behind Dillon who scored a top three finish. With the effort, Self was named the Sunoco Rookie of the Race.
"We were really strong and making a huge charge to the front and got caught up in some trouble on one of the restarts. From that point on the team kept pushing and doing everything they could to fix the car and make it strong again," said Self. "The last green flag run it really showed. We had just enough to push into the top ten and finish off a night and weekend that the guys and myself worked for every position we got."
Much like Self, team owner Jim Offenbach was all smiles after his team scored duel top ten finishes in Sun City. Offenbach and the entire team that was founded in 1982 are already looking forward to a strong run for 2011.
"Both Michael Self and Ty Dillon proved they can run the big tracks as rookies," said Offenbach. "They both drove very smart, used a lot of patience and showed well with both cars in the top ten. This race was a great display of teamwork by everyone involved with GGRT. I'm really proud of these guys."
After reading materials on Self and watching him from afar over the past few months, Childress too was impressed with the performance of GGRT's newest duo. Phoenix offers one of the few venues where he can work side by side with the drivers in his development program.
"I had not seen Michael Self run before and was very impressed," said Childress. "He overcame a qualifying position of 30th, a spin in turn two and never gave up. He had many bright spots in his effort of a ninth place finish and showed he knows how to pass cars. Both Ty and Michael worked well together and we look forward to more exciting races in the 2011 season. This GGRT/RCR Team did a great job all weekend."