With the Daytona 500 now in the books, the short track warriors of NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series are set to begin their season this Thursday evening under the lights at Phoenix (AZ) International Raceway in the 3 Amigos Organic Blanco “100”. The K&N Pro Series will share the stage with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the “Desert Mile”, but this is no ordinary under card as the series embarks on its 58th season.
For Jonathon Gomez, who hails from Twin Falls, Idaho, the race at Phoenix signals the beginning of a new race season but more importantly, the opportunity for the 28-year old to shine in his quest for the 2011 title. Gomez has made three previous starts at Phoenix with his best finish of fourth coming in this event last season.
“We are so much better prepared than we were last season,” Gomez stated. “I have been amped up about this race since last year. We learned so much last season and we feel we know what it is going to take to be in contention late in the race.”
In no less than six races last season, Gomez was running among the leaders only to have on-track incidents, flat tires, fuel issues, and just plain bad luck derail top five finishes. “We certainly did not finish a few of the races like we had wanted to but we are a much better team today because it.”
The new season always brings a lot of new faces to the West’s oldest stock car series but this season you can count Gomez as one of the favorites to contend for the series title. “We feel we have a team that can compete for the title,” Gomez said. “It will not be easy but with Craig (Raudman, crew chief) leading the team we know our first win is coming.”
That win could come this Thursday. Gomez finished fourth and eleventh in two Phoenix races last season completing all the laps contested. In fact, Gomez led all competitors last season in laps completed (1700 out of 1705) throughout the 12-race schedule and was the recipient of the Driver Achievement Award and a sixth place final points finish for the 2010 campaign in his first full season in the series.
With this race being only 100-laps, track position will be key, especially late in the race. Most teams will likely not stop for tires, electing only to take a splash of gas and that stop may come early in the race.
Qualifying will also be a key factor in the race and Gomez has qualified no better than 17th in three previous starts. “We have a fast car and I would be surprised if we don’t qualify among the top five or six,” Gomez offered. “The K&N Pro Series is a tough series with a lot of great drivers. We feel we are one of the top teams and a win at Phoenix would be awesome.”
The Heritage Motor Sports team is owned by John Gomez with Craig Raudman as crew chief and supported by Blaine Bergen, Jeff Woods, Dave Reed, Ron Copeland, Jeff Couch, Kyle Cattanaugh, Micah Paumer, and Rick Wilmerton.
Gomez, along with a crew led by Ron Copeland and driving for car owner Bob Standwold, will also defend his 2010 SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour championship title again this season in the popular California based Late Model tour. The SRL season gets underway April 2 at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Jonathon Gomez is supported by Heritage Cattle Company, Century Boatland, J&C Custom Harvesting, United Oil, Modern Machinery, DJ Safety, and Gomez Farms. Jonathon Gomez is the 2010 SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Champion. Gomez is also a winner on the CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series and in the Mustang Challenge Series at Miller Motorsports Park. For more information on Jonathon Gomez, please log onto his website at http://jonathongomez.com or NASCAR Hometracks. You can also follow all of the best in West coast racing action by visiting www.racingwest.com.
Marketing partnerships and sponsorship opportunities for the 2011 racing season are still available with Heritage Motor Sports and rising star Jonathon Gomez. For a custom proposal and additional information please contact John Gomez at 208/731-1288.
The Race: 3 Amigos Organic Blanco 100
Place: Phoenix International Raceway
Date: Thursday, Feb. 24
Time: 4:30 p.m. PT
TV Schedule: SPEED, TBA
Track Layout: 1-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $130,413
2010 Winner: Eric Holmes
2010 Polesitter: Andrew Myers
Event Schedule: Thursday: Practice 9-10 a.m., 10:30–11:30 a.m., Qualifying 2:30 p.m.
Track PR Contact: Paul Corliss (623) 463-5400 [email protected]
NASCAR IMC Contact: Kevin W. Green (661) 392-8543 [email protected]
The race … This event marks the beginning of the 2011 season for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. It is the first of two series visits to PIR this year, with the circuit returning in November for the season finale.
The procedure … The starting field is 40 cars, including provisionals. The first 36 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 100 laps.
The track … PIR is a one-mile superspeedway with Turns 1 and 2 banked 11 degrees, Turns 3 and 4 banked nine degrees and two degrees of banking in the dogleg. This will be the 27th stand-alone Phoenix race for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
The records … Qualifying: Greg Pursley, Nov. 13, 2010, 129.964 mph, 27.700 sec.; Race: David Gilliland, Jan. 30, 2005, 108.532 mph, 55 minutes 17 seconds.
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