WS: Roseville II: Golden Gate Racing Team race report

Roseville run shows strength of GGRT Self brings positive light and perseverance to GGRT in Roseville rally ROSEVILLE, CA (10-16-10) - Making his first start with the team on Saturday in Roseville, Utah's Michael's Self was seeking a top finish...

Roseville run shows strength of GGRT
Self brings positive light and perseverance to GGRT in Roseville rally

ROSEVILLE, CA (10-16-10) - Making his first start with the team on Saturday in Roseville, Utah's Michael's Self was seeking a top finish in hopes of opening eyes on the successful San Francisco based Golden Gate Racing Team that carries the support of the Richard Childress Driver Development program. Although the end result did not paint the picture, Self's performance opened the eyes of many and brought a positive light to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West team that has regrouped after a brief absence.

"The finish wasn't what we wanted and it didn't show how good we were, but we were definitely a top three car tonight," said Self, who ended his night with a 12th place finish in Saturday's Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150. "I made a bunch of mistakes, but I learned from every one of them. The whole team did a great job of keeping us together and helping to make us as strong as we were."

For Self, Saturday's event started off extremely well. In the first practice of the day he drove the Bay Bio Diesel-Golden Gate Meat Company #21 Chevrolet to the second fastest time on the track with a 13:882 second lap behind two time champion Eric Holmes. In the final practice of the day, the GGRT crew adjusted the car for consistency and Self returned on used tires and still managed to earn the eighth fastest lap out of the 23 cars participating.

In qualifying, Self muscled his way to a best speed of 86.782 miles per hour to clock a 13:814 second lap. The effort earned the 19-year-old two time 2010 AAS late model winner to the pole position until late in qualifying when he was edged by Holmes and Jacob Gomes, positioning him third in the final qualifying order.

When the pre-event pyrotechnics faded dark at the start of the 150 lap feature race, Self quickly ignited fireworks of his own aboard his finely tuned GGRT chariot as he went to battle with Gomes and Holmes as early as the first lap. Nine laps into the race, fluid on the track in the third turn sent Self into a spin and his third place position quickly diminished to a top ten as the caution flag flew and a lengthy pause parked the field for track maintenance.

The extended break allowed Self and the Golden Gate Racing Team to communicate on their plan to rally back to the front of the field in the coming laps. The incident that had set them back caused no damage to the car and when it comes to communication and redemption in a race, crew chief Steve Portenga is the best in the business.

"Michael is a great listener and he communicates extremely well," said Portenga. "That's a great ability for a driver because they can tell me exactly what is going on in that car and we can work together to make it work. He did a great job Saturday night of showing his abilities, this place is tough when it comes to traffic and incidents are going to break out that you just hope you don't get caught up in."

When the race went back to green, Self's rally towards to the front became the race to watch as he sliced and diced his way through traffic. Avoiding a number of incidents that broke out in his path, Self eventually worked his way back into the third position before the halfway mark of the race. As he closed in on the leaders, in a heated battle within the top five, Self held off a hard pressing Eric Schmidt and series newcomer Juan Pitta for much of the race, until the two came together in battle on lap 137 and Self fell victim to a spin in the second turn.

"We fell way back in the beginning but got back up to the top three quickly, which was really showing just how strong we were," added Self. "Then we started getting caught up with the other cars and traffic on the restarts, which caused a bunch of problems for us late in the race."

An overheating car in the closing laps didn't daunt the determination of Self and the team as he tried every line possible in the closing laps to climb back towards the front. When the checkered flag waved, Self finished the night in 12th overall in an event that didn't necessarily produce a win, but surely illustrated the thrill of the chase and the talent of the entire Golden Gate Racing Team.

"Michael said it pretty well, the results don't show how well we looked in this race," said team owner Jim Offenbach. "Michael displays a great deal of talent behind the wheel and works very well with the team. I'm very proud of what we accomplished tonight despite the finish. This team is strong again and we will get even stronger before this series is over."

The final event of the 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season will be at the big one mile Phoenix International Speedway on Saturday, November 13th. According to Portenga, the larger track is expected to clearly illustrate the talents of Self, the team and the great equipment that is supported by RCR Development.

"When I drove, I only raced at Roseville two different times and this place is tough in traffic," said Portenga. "I was lucky back then because I started up front and got ahead of everything. It's bigger now but it's still a very tight track. Michael did really well coming back like he did, that's not easy to do mentally. At Phoenix we will have a lot of room to really race and see what we can do. I know we're going to do well."

Saturday night the Golden Gate Racing Team carried the primary sponsorship of Bay Bio Diesel and the Golden Gate Meat Company. Additional support included the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, Superior Lamb Company, Hill Meat Company, Harraka Racing Equipment Sales, Foodcomm International, Signco and Praxair. When the team returns to Phoenix, Bay Bio Diesel will continue to support the effort under the primary sponsorship of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma.

"I really want to thank Pat O'Keefe of Bay Bio and Golden Gate Petroleum for partnering with us for this race," said Offenbach. "He has always been a great part of this team and a great friend of the whole team and his support of us in our return is very appreciated."

-source: ggrt

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Drivers Steve Portenga , Eric Holmes