Golden Gate and sophomore driver Koch ready for Showdown SAN FRANCISCO - The Golden Gate - Richard Childress Racing Development Team and sophomore NASCAR driver Blake Koch are geared up and ready for the 2010 NASCAR Camping World West season to...
Golden Gate and sophomore driver Koch ready for Showdown
SAN FRANCISCO - The Golden Gate - Richard Childress Racing Development Team and sophomore NASCAR driver Blake Koch are geared up and ready for the 2010 NASCAR Camping World West season to begin. With the Daystar Television Network as the team's new primary sponsor and a brand new look, racing to the front of the field is high on the priority list for the longtime successful team based in San Francisco, California.
Last season was the maiden run for the combination of Koch and Jim Offenbach's Golden Gate Racing Team. After finishing runner up in a heated battle for the Rookie of the Year title in NASCAR's West Tour, the team feels they have formed a strong relationship that will lead to success this season, which begins January 29th with the NASCAR Showdown at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, California.
"The showdown is going to be awesome, " said Koch. "I am really excited to get back with the team, launch a new sponsor and paint scheme and get back into the west series. I feel I am much further ahead going into the showdown than I was last year."
The NASCAR Toyota Showdown is often referred to as the Daytona 500 of short track racing. The spectacular winter event brings the best drivers from both the East and the West together in a high dollar non-point earning event that kicks off the year prior to the opening of both championship tours in their respective regions. Last year was the first time Koch and the Golden Gate Racing Team competed together other than his testing debut in the season finale at the tight All American Speedway in Roseville in 2008.
"Last year Irwindale was the biggest track I had ever been on, the biggest race I had ever attended and only the second time in one of these cars," added Koch. "This year I have a full Camping World Season under my belt and a couple of Nationwide starts including Memphis and Homestead that gave me more experience on the bigger tracks. After working together all year long I think this team is going to be a threat for the win all year long."
The Toyota NASCAR Showdown is one of the biggest events of the year for both of regional tours. While the event offers a great deal of exposure and winnings for its participants, it also offers teams an opportunity to fine tune their operation for the upcoming full season. For Koch and Golden Gate Racing this event gives them the opportunity to share insight with their fellow drivers and teams from the Richard Childress stables that will be in competition such as Sean Caisse, a RCR Development driver that has had his share of previous success in the Toyota Showdown.
Following the upcoming Toyota Showdown, the NASCAR Camping World Series West will kick off its 57th championship season on March 27 with the first of two visits to All American Speedway in Roseville. The series will return to Roseville later in the year as well on October 16. The series will return to Irwindale on July 3 for the Independence Day weekend.
The series will also visit Phoenix International Raceway on two occasions during the year with a number of appearances at various short tracks throughout the tour including Iowa Speedway, Douglass County Speedway, Montana Raceway Park and Colorado International Speedway. Three road courses will take place during the year including Infineon Raceway, Portland International Raceway and Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.
"The schedule looks pretty good. I am really looking forward to go to Phoenix twice this year and I'm excited to be coming back to Infineon, that place is just awesome," said Koch. "Going back to every track on the schedule for the second and third time in my career except for one is going to make things a lot easier."
For Koch, one of the key advantages this year is his year long relationship with Steve Portenga, Golden Gate Racing Team's veteran crew chief. A former winning driver himself, Portenga is known for his good communication skills with new drivers. In 2009 the duo formed a strong relationship that Koch sees as an advantage going into their second year.
"We have a very exciting schedule this year," said Portenga. "I look forward to applying everything Blake learned last season to be a top contender in 2010. With zero DNF's in 2009, we feel as a team we accomplished our first goal and allowed Blake as many laps in a car as possible. We're looking forward to this showdown and winning races in the 2010 season."
While Koch will be the primary driver for the Golden Gate Racing Team in 2010, the team also welcomes the return of Pat O'Keefe. O'Keefe is the vice president of Golden Gate Petroleum, one the of the team's long time associate sponsors. A former NASCAR Grand American Modified racer, O'Keefe will compete in select events in the GGRT-Bay Bio Diesel #29 car.