WS: Roseville: Blake Koch race notes

Koch and crew bring Golden Gate Racing ...

Koch and crew bring Golden Gate Racing #21 to first top five finish of the season in Toyota/Napa 150

ROSEVILLE, CA -- The San Francisco based Richard Childress Racing Development - Golden Gate Racing Team is celebrating its first top five finish of the 2009 NASCAR Camping World West season after primary driver Blake Koch drove the Bio Diesel-Daystar Network #21 Chevrolet to fifth place in the Toyota -- Napa 150 at All American Speedway in Roseville, California Saturday night.

Unlike the 2009 NASCAR Camping World West opener in Texas , Koch arrived at All American Speedway in Roseville Saturday morning and was already familiar with the track. Back in the fall of 2008 the West Palm Beach native made his NASCAR debut when he drove a secondary car for RCR and team owner Jim Offenbach, testing for his future position as Golden Gate's primary driver.

"It was nice to come to a track I was already familiar with," said Koch. "I was confident that we would do well as a team at the same track where we started together. I just want to thank the entire GGRT crew for all their hard work and all of my sponsors and especially God."

As early as practice, it was apparent that Koch, crew Chief Steve Portenga and the GGRT crew were ready to roll. In practice they turned the 6th fastest lap time with a 13.640 at a clocked speed of 87.889 miles per hour. In qualifying Koch turned the 9th fastest lap of the day with a 13.818 at a speed of 86.75 miles per hour. Koch's qualifying time was just .229 seconds off the new track record garnered by fast qualifier Jason Bowles.

"The car was good in both practices, every change that Steve made to the car was in the right direction," said Koch. When qualifying came I just over drove the car, settling for ninth place."

Starting in the ninth position on the tight All American .300 mile oval, Koch used great patience combined with the guidance of Portenga to begin advancing towards the top five at the drop of the green flag. On the 40th lap he was slowed after a mishap when Brett Thompson spun in the second turn. Koch recovered from the delay quickly and maintained the seventh place position for much of the event. He advanced into the top five for good by lap 130 of the 150 lap affair.

After finishing fifth before a sold out crowd, Koch is now seventh in the NASCAR Camping World West Series point standings. He currently leads the field in the chase for the 2009 Sunoco Rookie of the Year title. The next event will bring the team to Phoenix International Raceway on Thursday, April 18th. Golden Gate Racing Team's season best fifth place run can be viewed on network television this Thursday, April 9 on SPEED TV at 3 p.m. Eastern time. SPEED TV will delay broadcast all events in the 2009 NASCAR Camping World West Series.


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Drivers Steve Portenga , Brett Thompson , Jason Bowles , Blake Koch
Teams Richard Childress Racing