The last three years of my racing career have gotten off to less than stellar starts. Finishing outside of the top 10 on all three occasions has made a rebound difficult. It turns the beginning of the season in to a chase as opposed to a strong, consistency hold. This year I knew things had to be different. The one goal through the 2012-2013 off season has been dead set on the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Championship. With the way the Golden Gate Racing Team and myself ended the last half of the 2012 season we’re very convinced we are a major contender.
Coming-off the season finale win at Phoenix, and a very strong performance at the 2013 UNOH Battle at the Beach which saw me getting taken out with one corner to go, our momentum and enthusiasm has never been higher. We rolled-in to Phoenix with our sights set on a solid top five finish and nailed it, landing a third place that will hold us over until the season continues at the New Stockton 99 Speedway in May.
In the meantime all we can do is focus on improving every aspect of the organization that’s come in to play so far. Crew chief Steve Portenga and the crew will work day in and day out to perfect the cars for Stockton and the road course at Brainerd International Raceway, making sure we leave nothing on the table. My dad and marketing associates will continue the never ending hunt for new sponsors to associate with us in our 2013 championship charge.
We’ll also set our sights on some Super Late Model racing at the all new Kern County Raceway opening in April, where I’ll run the nine races that don’t conflict with any K&N West events, and compete against the top short track Late Model competitors on the West Coast. Coming-off our win at the Fall Festival of Speed in Vegas in October, we’re excited to wheel out my #17 Rockwell Watches/Self Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Super Late Model and get a few more races packed in to our schedule and, hopefully, a few more wins on our resume.
“We rolled-in to Phoenix with our sights set on a solid top five finish and nailed it . . .”
As for my personal life, I’m heading back to work for the Ford Racing School at Miller Motorsports Park. With the launch of the all new Raptor Assault Program, Michelin Light Truck Program, and the continuation of the most popular road racing schools in the country, the Boss Track Attack and Ford Racing High Performance Driving School, this year is shaping up to be the biggest and busiest year of instructing that the track has seen. With help from Arai Helmets, I’ll be strapping on the GP-JET open face to coach on both asphalt and dirt, jumping trucks and wheeling Mustangs to share my passion of motorsports and racing with everyone that comes through our school . . . and on top of that, I’ll be heading to different major automotive events around the country such as Barrett-Jackson to give the public an opportunity to ride in the right seat with a “Professional Driver.” In between work days and at nights I’ll be back on iRacing, trying to get some laps on the simulator, and hone the skills that sim-racing keeps me working on.
For me, the start of the race season and the warm weather that’s rolling in with Spring brings me back to the height of my life. Anticipation grows every day as boxes show-up on my doorstep containing my 2013 gear from Sparco, including the Tide Gloves that griped the wheel during the third place run at Phoenix, the Formula SL-7 shoes, and of course the Ice Nomex that will be replacing the multiple pairs of socks that I’ve finally realized don’t make it back from the dry cleaners.
I know I speak for myself and the entire Golden Gate Racing Team when I say we’ve never been stronger, more motivated, more prepared, or more willing to do everything we possibly can and know how to do to chase the championships and put a new team and name at the top of the list in the NASCAR Touring Series.