AVONDALE, Arizona — March is here and the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Series is set to begin this weekend in Avondale, Arizona at the Phoenix International Raceway. As this exciting series kicks off what is expected to be one of its most competitive campaigns yet, Utah's Michael Self and the Golden Gate Racing-Richard Childress Driver Development team is locked and loaded to make a run at the 2012 NASCAR West Championship beginning this Saturday in the desert with the Talking Stick Resort 50.
"I've been excited to get back to Phoenix since we left back in November," said Self. "Despite what happened at that race we had a great weekend going and a pretty decent run so I'm going to capitalize on it this time around and finish things as strong as we started last time."
The 2011 racing season was a wild roller coaster ride for Self and the Golden Gate Racing Team. Despite many top qualifying spots and top runs early in events, the season ending statistics didn't illustrate the skill and strength of this veteran team and its talented young driver. It was a menagerie of misfortunes, most of which were no fault of their own, that kept the boys of the bay from the number of top finishes they were so deserving of.
As they head into a brand new season, Self now has a full season of bonding with the Golden Gate Racing Team and the RCR organization under his belt. At the same time, the members of the team are ready to watch this competitive young driver bring the Golden Gate Meat Company – Bay Bio Diesel #21 Chevrolet Impala to a top finish and ultimately an overdue victory in this series.
"Michael has been spending a great deal of time at the GGRT shop in Bakersfield with Steve Portenga and the team, working on a great plan for the season to come. This talented young man is a veteran in this series now and this is the year he will really show his talent in my eyes," said Jimi Z Offenbach, owner of the Golden Gate Racing Team. I want to thank everyone at GGRT/RCR for their hard work in the off season and I truly believe this is year it will pay off well."
The Golden Gate Racing Team is the sole West Coast NASCAR Driver Development team that carries the support of Richard Childress Racing (RCR) based in Welcome, North Carolina. The organization has been a one of the most respected asphalt racing teams in Northern California for well over two decades. The organization is known for its integrity, positive representation of the sport and its top quality equipment that carries the famed RCR logo throughout the West Coast year after year. As it carries the support of RCR, the team and it's driver also have the support and insight of Richard Childress personally. Although his schedule is loaded with the NASCAR Sprint Series, Nationwide and Truck campaigns, Childress keeps a close eye on the trials and tribulations of the Golden Gate Racing Team and will be with the team this weekend in Phoenix.
"Speaking with Jimi Z and Steven (Portenga), I am really looking forward to the 2012 NASCAR West season," commented Childress, as he prepared for the 54th Daytona 500 with his teams. "We all feel this is Michael's breakout year. I will be with the team in Phoenix and I'm looking forward to the race."
In 2012 the Golden Gate Racing Team will compete in 15 NASCAR K&N West Series races, The campaign includes visits to 13 venues in 10 states The schedule for NASCAR’s top developmental series features the first visit to the state of New Mexico, with an event at Sandia Motor Speedway in Albuquerque on Saturday, Sept. 29. The series will also make its first visit to Havasue 95 Speedway in Lake Havasue City, Ariz., on Saturday, April 14.
An inaugural race at Brainerd International Raceway on Saturday, May 26, will mark one of four road course events on tap for 2012. In addition to the Minnesota race, the schedule includes visits to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on Saturday, April 28; Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California., on Saturday, June 23; and Portland International Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 26.
The 2012 season will feature a return on Saturday, May 5, to Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway, which the series last visited in 2006. An addition to the schedule is a second NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. The first combination race is set for Saturday, May 19, with a second event on the .875-mile track on Friday, Aug. 3.
Other 2012 venues will include: Four other popular short-track events on the 2012 schedule include The Bullring at Las Vegas Motors Speedway on Saturday, June 2; Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., on Saturday, July 14; Colorado National Speedway in Dacono, Colo., on Saturday, July 28; and All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., on Saturday, Oct. 13.
Following the opener this weekend, the series will return to Phoenix International Raceway in November with the crowning of the series champion. The Phoenix races are two of three series events in conjunction with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. With his first full season with GGRT under his belt and a great deal of off season time with the team, Self is poised to be one of the drivers on the podium when the championship comes down to the line.
"We've made a big push this winter and some pretty big changes at GGRT," said Self. "Honestly I haven't been this excited for a season to get started in a couple of years. The new Phoenix is a really great track, it was a little green last time so I'm looking forward to racing it again with some rubber and time on the asphalt. We're bringing everything we've got this year."
The Golden Gate Racing Team/RCR Chevrolets carried the sponsorship of Richard Childress Racing Driver Development, Bay Bio Diesel and the Golden Gate Meat Company. Additional associate sponsors that support them are the Richard Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, RCR Street Performance, Hill Meat Company, Corte Madera Tow, Harraka Racing Equipment Sales, Foodcomm International, Signco, Praxair and JW Web Design. Self is the primary driver for GGRT/RCR in 2012. He will be joined in select events this year by 2011 NASCAR Truck Champion Austin Dillon and 2011 ARCA Champion Ty Dillon when the team fields a secondary car.
For an in-depth look at the Golden Gate Racing Team or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, visit their official website at www.goldengateracingteam.com. To learn more about the Richard Childress Racing Driver Development program visit www.rcrracing.com All four entities can also be found on facebook, become a fan today.