All-Star Showdown: Golden Gate Racing Team race notes

Golden Gate Racing Team pleased with Toyota Showdown performance; ready for 2009 Camping World Series SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco based Richard Childress Racing Development -Golden Gate Racing Team is pleased with last...

Golden Gate Racing Team pleased with Toyota Showdown performance; ready for 2009 Camping World Series

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco based Richard Childress Racing Development -Golden Gate Racing Team is pleased with last week's performance in the Toyota All Star Showdown at Irwindale. With Florida's Blake Koch behind the wheel for 2009, it appears the team is well prepared to contend in the upcoming 2009 NASCAR Camping World West Series aboard the #21 Chevrolet.

"We were very happy with our run at the Showdown," commented team owned Jim Offenbach. "The event was a great opportunity for Blake and the team to compete against the best drivers from both the east and the west and he did very well considering the rain delays made for very little practice times and the track conditions were a real challenge."

The Toyota All-Star Showdown is an annual non-points, all-star race that brings together the top drivers in NASCAR's Development series. The main event, contested in NASCAR Camping World Series Cars, is open to any driver approved to drive on a half-mile or longer tracks in the NASCAR Camping World Series.

The 2009 version of this gala event was shadowed by Mother Nature for the entire weekend. After heavy rains on the first day of competition, qualifying was postponed until Saturday afternoon and drivers saw very little practice time late Friday night. On Saturday, inclement weather still managed to haunt the facility with repeated rain delays and damp track conditions prior to qualifying.

Late Saturday afternoon, the skies cleared, track drying efforts were complete and the "Daytona 500 of Short Track Racing" was underway with qualifying. After being 18th quick in practice, Koch was the 50th car out for qualifying on the track that had seen is share of rain and drying efforts throughout the day.

"Right off the bat everyone picked up about four tenths of a second for qualifying," said Koch. "I went out and tried too hard to pick up a lot of time and ended up messing up on both my laps which put me in the 50 lap open race."

At Irwindale, the 50-lap open race is a final opportunity for those drivers who did not qualify for the feature race to do so by finishing in the top six positions when the checkered flag waves. In this event the competition is fierce as each driver is well aware that this is their final opportunity to make the money race.

Koch entered the event in the 12th position and quickly advanced to 8th after the opening green flag. During the final circuits of the race Koch advanced into the 7th position and closed within inches of the 6th place final transfer car. When the checkered flag waved Koch and the Golden Gate Team crossed the line just one position out of the transfers into the feature event.

"With just one spot left to make the main and hardly any laps left I tried so hard to make it," said Koch. "I ended up finishing just one spot out of making the main event.."

Despite being just one position out of the transfer position when time ran out, Offenbach and the entire Golden Gate Racing Team were pleased with their performance in the Toyota Showdown. The team is looking forward to the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Series which begins at Thunder Hill Raceway in Kyle Texas on March 14.

"The Showdown was real test run for this team,:" added Offenbach. "We were very happy with Blake's performance. This was a non-points race and we could have gone in their and torn up the car, a lot of people did just that. I was very happy with Blake's driving he showed great patience in a weekend where the rain wreaked havoc on the teams. We're ready for the season and looking at the big picture -- The NASCAR Camping World West Championship Series."

With the many rain delays, Koch and his new Golden Gate Racing Team colleagues had several hours to get acquainted with his team and discuss their efforts for the upcoming season together. One of the key elements to any successful racing team is communication with each other. Before the 2009 season has even begun, the Golden Gate Racing Team and Blake Koch are well on their way to success.

"I learned a lot while I was there," said Koch. "With all the rain I got to spend a lot of time with my new team. I really appreciate all of their hard work. I am going into the season opener in March with my head up high and expecting a victory. Next year when we come back to the Showdown I will have 10 times more experience and will be competing for the win."

The Toyota Showdown at Irwindale was the first televised event since the Golden Gate Racing Team partnered with The new title sponsor drew great attention at the event at both the track and across the nation as the race was broadcast live on SpeedTV.

""I think it's great to have a car that talks about God," commented one spectator. "It's about time, since there is every kind of sponsor is here."

In addition to Koch, the Golden Gate Racing Team competed in the company of fellow Richard Childress Development Series driver Austin Dillon of Lewisville, N.C. Dillon drove the Shell sponsored Chevrolet donning the #3, the same number his grandfather, Richard Childress utilized when he raced. Despite being the victim to a multi car collision, Dillon finished 30th in the feature race.

-credit: ggrt

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Drivers Blake Koch
Teams Richard Childress Racing