Heavy hearted Golden Gate Racing Team returns to Infineon SONOMA, CA h6-13-10)-- This week the Golden Gate Racing Team returns with two stellar entries on the track closest to their home base as Infineon Raceway hosts the NASCAR K&N Pro Series...
Heavy hearted Golden Gate Racing Team returns to Infineon
SONOMA, CA h6-13-10)-- This week the Golden Gate Racing Team returns with two stellar entries on the track closest to their home base as Infineon Raceway hosts the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in the Thunder Valley Casino-Resort 200. While the home track event is always special for this race team, this year is no exception as they return to the Sonoma Valley with extremely heavy hearts on Father's Day weekend.
It was just days ago that members of the NASCAR West Racing community learned the sad news that Ray Offenbach had lost his life following a valliant battle with Lukemia at the age of 82. Known best as "Daddy Ray" to those around him, Ray Offenbach was a huge supporter of this race team owned by his son, Jim Offenbach. Despite his age and his ailing health in these recent years, he followed the team as much as possible and knew nearly everyone of its associates in a very personal and proud fashion.
While the past week has been a difficult time for the Offenbach family and this Richard Childress Racing Development team, they are known for their great resilience. When times get tough they have an ability to bounce back with flying colors and the upcoming Thunder Valley Casino-Resort 200 will likely be a true display of such traits and talent.
"These past days have been tremendously hard, my Dad was very special to everyone involved on this race team," said Offenbach. "It's doesn't matter how prepared you are for times like this it is still very tough when it really happens. We miss him tremendously and will always remember how much he loved everyone on this team."
Offenbach credits much of his life's success due to the influence of his father. Since he was 8 years old he worked alongside him at grocery stores and butcher shops he operated in San Francisco and Marin County. Offenbach followed in his father's footsteps, opening the well known Golden Gate Meat Company in San Francisco that he continues to operate today with his wife Patti and their children.
After the Golden Gate Meat Company became successful and Offenbach had developed a close friendship with NASCAR legend Richard Childress, the Golden Gate Racing Team was born. Since 1992 the team has had great success with IMCA Modifieds, NASCAR Winston West, Davey Hamilton's Wild West Shootout SRL Series and the North State Challenge Series before embarking on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Through it all, Ray Offenbach proudly supported his son and family as they followed their dreams.
While "Daddy Ray" will be on everyone's mind in garage area at Sonoma this weekend, it won't be the only place his memory will be vivid. As they take to the track in the region where they reside Offenbach's #21 Daystar Television Network Chevrolet driven by Blake Koch will carry a special tribute upon it for the event called the "Daddy Ray Special."
"While it's very hard to go back there without him, it's very special to be able to honor my Dad like this on Father's Day weekend," said Offenbach. "Blake did very well his first year on the road course last season and the past two weeks we have made a great comeback in the series. I am very confident these cars will have a strong weekend and that will be good for all of us."
Last year Koch illustrated he has a niche when it comes to road racing and will surely be competitive in this special return to Sonoma. The former motocross ace will not be alone on the track as Jason Bowles returns to the GGRT/RCR stable this week aboard the Thunder Valley Casino #31 car. Bowles is the defending NASCAR West champion and the 2010 winner on the road course at Sonoma. At a time when this team is hurting emotionally, in reality they return to the track stronger then ever.