WS: Roseville: Blake Koch preview

Golden Gate Racing Team and Blake Koch reunite in Roseville to begin quest towards the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Title SAN FRANCISCO - The Golden Gate Racing - Richard Childress Racing Development Team is well prepared to begin their journey ...

Golden Gate Racing Team and Blake Koch reunite in Roseville to begin quest towards the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Title

SAN FRANCISCO - The Golden Gate Racing - Richard Childress Racing Development Team is well prepared to begin their journey towards the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship beginning this week in Roseville, California. The 2010 west series of 12 races starts on Saturday with the Toyota/Napa Auto Parts Challenge presented by A-All Mini Storage at All American Speedway.

For the Golden Gate Racing Team, and Blake Koch of West Palm Beach, Florida, the driver of the Daystar Television Network #21, Saturday's event is more then just a season opener in a year where they will chase the series crown. Returning to the exciting All American Speedway is somewhat of a homecoming for the Koch and the team. Late in the 2008 racing season, Roseville was where Koch strapped into a GGRT/RCR machine for the first time to test for owner Jim Offenbach. Following that special night, once again it was Roseville where they all returned as a complete team in the spring of last year.

"Roseville is where it all started for Golden Gate Racing and myself, it's kind of special for me," said Koch. "I'm ready to get started this year and win some races in the Daystar Television Network #21 Chevrolet. We do well in Roseville. It's one of the tracks I've raced on more than the others so I'm looking forward to a good strong run and a win for this team."

Last season was the first full season together for Koch and Offenbach's San Francisco based Golden Gate Racing Team. After finishing runner up in a heated battle for the Rookie of the Year title and 8th in the overall point standings, the team has developed into the perfect combination of a winning crew and a driver with the ability and great motivation to go out to win some races and a championship title.

"This really should be a great year for GGRT and RCR," said Offenbach. "I love this race team, they work together extremely well and they are ready for any situation. This season is Blake's time to got out and really sparkle. He has the ability, he has shown that to us. Now it's time to win some races and go after a championship."

Saturday's season opening event in Roseville is the first of two visits to All American Speedway in the year to come. Koch and the GGRT will return to Roseville later on October 16. Roseville is one of the tighter tracks on the upcoming K&N Pro Series West tour. Therefore, a strong qualifying position will be key for Koch to avoid the chore of working through traffic on the tight .333 mile oval.

"Qualifying will be very important going into this race," added Koch. "On the bigger tracks if you don't get a really good qualifying position you have some opportunity to make up for it in the race. At Roseville, there's not a lot of room to make up for a bad qualifying time so that will be our first goal. Our second goal will be to go out and win this race."

In Koch's last appearance at All American Speedway the team was on their way to what appeared to be a strong run. He clocked the second fastest time in the field during practice and clinched the fourth position in qualifying. Six laps into the event he fell victim to a collision that spun the GGRT/RCR #21 out of contention. However, he still rallied back to finish 14th in the event and seal his top ten finish in the series point standings.

While Koch will begin his second full NASCAR season behind the wheel, he will again be guided by the man who walked him through the stages of his Rookie Season in 2009, Steve Portenga, veteran Chief for the Golden Gate Racing Team. Last season, one of the team's accomplishments was the fact they finished every single race and left the DNF column empty at the end of the year. Much like Offenbach and Koch, Portenga is looking for a strong year ahead.

"We accomplished our goal to finish every race last year and that allowed Blake as many laps as possible," said Portenga. "Blake really learned how to communicate with the team last year. I think that and the fact he has been active behind the wheel during our off season is really going to payoff. We're looking forward to winning some races in 2010."

During the off season for Golden Gate Racing, Koch has been active racing in various Late Model events on the east coast and recently made his ARCA Series Debut in West Palm Beach where he finished third. Successful drivers in many forms of racing are those that do exactly what 24-year Koch has been doing, keeping busy in the cockpit of a race car throughout the entire calendar year.

"I really think all the extra racing I have been doing since the close of last season is going to help me in the K&N Pro Series this year," said Koch. "The Nationwide start at the end of last year, the Late Model races and especially the ARCA race have kept me focused on sharp so I'm not heading into the year without some recent track time."

-source: ggrt

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Drivers Steve Portenga , Blake Koch