Podium finish begins title run for Golden Gate Racing


AVONDALE, AZ -  After having the biggest victory of his life taken away by a collision on the last lap at Daytona, Richard Childress Development Driver Michael Self and the Golden Gate Racing Team rallied back to action like true soldiers for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West opener last weekend in Avondale, Arizona.  For the first time in his young NASCAR racing career, Self is amidst the top three point rankings in the championship series following his podium finish at Phoenix International Raceway.


"I never started a season off sitting third in the points, so this is really pretty comforting," said Self. "We really wanted to go back to back after our win in November but Cameron Hayley and Greg Pursley were just wicked fast all weekend. We still had a little work to do and unfortunately just couldnít get the car going on the restarts like they were able to but I couldn't be happier with this Golden Gate Racing Team and Richard Childress Racing for all their hard work and support. This is a great way to start the season."


After three victories last year, 22 year old Self has become a driver to beat in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. He came within half a lap of winning in Daytona two weeks ago in the non-points Battle at the Beach and only lost the event after being spun on the last lap and came into Phoenix carrying the momentum of a victory in the desert at the conclusion of last year.


"We came into this season with some great momentum and we were right there in Daytona," said Self. "We've got the team and we've got the momentum and we are focused on this championship this year. We know exactly what we need to do with this Golden Gate Meats, Bay Bio Diesel, Rockwell Watches Chevrolet. We aren't necessarily focused on winning races as much as we are consistent, top five finishes. Thatís what is takes to win a championship."


For Self, the weekend at Phoenix International was moderately strong from the start. Although crew led by former driver and veteran crew chief Steve Portenga fought their battles to perfect the car in practice they produced a machine that kept Self in the top five for the entire event.


In practice, Self was the sixth fastest driver in competition with a top speed of  131.334 miles per hour. In Coors Light qualifying, the Park City Utah resident was the fifth fastest driver on the grid, throttling his way to a best speed of 132.173, putting him on the inside of row three for the Talking Stick Resorts 60, the first of 15  events in the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship campaign.


With 20 laps complete, Self drove the Richard Childress Racing supported GGRT #21 Chevrolet into podium contention as he moved into the third position where he later battled with front runners Greg Pursley and Cameron Hayley. At the checkered flag Self trailed the defending champion and the Daytona winner with an impressive third place run in the series opener, impressing all members of the GGRT/RCR team, including Richard Childress himself who has watched The Golden Gate Racing Team during the last three races first hand as they have competed in conjunction with NASCAR Sprint Cup events.


"Again I was pleased with Jimi Z's Golden Gate Racing Team in Phoenix," said Childress. "I watched Michael and Steven (Portenga) work together during the race and the communication between them is really jelling. I told Michael after the race that he is the most improved driver out there now. "


Much like Childress, team owner Jimi Z. was pleased with the performance of his entire team from unloading the hauler to the checkered flag in Phoenix. After decades of top finishes, the San Francisco based time is now poised as a championship contender in one of NASCAR's most competitive campaigns.


"What a way to start the season, " he commented. "Michael, Steven and everyone on this team have worked so hard and done all of their jobs so well that we are looking perfect right now when it comes to competing for the championship. Patti and myself couldn't be happier. I am proud of all of these guys and proud to own such an amazing team. "


Currently, Michael Self is third in the championship point standings. He sits seven points behind leader Pursley. The team will now head to Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, California on Saturday night, May 4th.


The Golden Gate Racing Team carries the support of the San Francisco based Golden Gate Meat Company, Rockwell Watches and Bay Bio Diesel, owned by longtime GGRT supporter and additional driver Pat O'Keefe.


Additional supporters include Richard Childress Racing Driver Development, Dr. Michael Self Plastic Surgery, the Richard Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, RCR Street Performance, Hill Meat Company, Corte Madera Tow, Harraka Racing Equipment Sales, Foodcomm International, Signco, Praxair.


For an in-depth look at the Golden Gate Racing Team or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities for the 2013 series, visit their official website at www.goldengateracingteam.com. To follow Michael Self on twitter you can find him @mself-21. Publicity and media relations for the Golden Gate Racing Team is provided by Bill Sullivan, Sullivan Images Media.


Copyright 2013 Michael Self Racing / Blakesley Sports Media