Gomez took much of last season off to concentrate on business and allow the team to regroup and prepare race cars for a championship effort this season.
New Year; New Beginning for Gomez
Jonathon Gomez at Phoenix 2011
Last season started with great promise for the 29-year old driver from Twin Falls, Idaho but after several disappointing finishes in the first third of the season, the team decided it needed to take a break and focus on preparing the entire operation for a run at a championship.
"We really started out behind last season as we did not have back up cars ready to roll," Gomez offered. "We had to fix our primary car and after a couple of tough outings it just was too much. Stepping back was difficult, but it allowed us to focus on building, rebuilding, and preparing all of our cars. This year we are ready."
While winning in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series is first and foremost on his mind, Gomez plans a very ambitious race schedule that will see him compete in over thirty races this season in three different series.
"The idea is to get as much seat time as possible and put ourselves in position to win races," Gomez stated. "The first win we want is at Phoenix."
Winning at Phoenix is what drives many competitors from the west coast and Gomez is no different. Last season he came up a bit short knowing he had a car that could win the race. "My crew chief, Craig Raudman, is fantastic and knows how to set up a winning race car," Gomez offered. "I learned a lot last year and I hope it will translate to success this weekend."
The event at Phoenix this season has been shortened to just 50-laps placing a premium on qualifying. "We have a car that can sit on the pole and that is what it is going to take in this race," Gomez said. "Our plan is to start up and and never look back."
Easier said than done as that same plan is going to be employed by every other driver in the field. Still, Gomez is optimistic about his chances on Saturday. "We have gotten better and better at qualifying and with the gains the team has made in the shop we have a lot of confidence for this weekend."
Gomez has two top five finishes in five previous starts at Phoenix including his runner-up finish last season. He made his first start in series back in 2008 with a ninth place performance and has started 27-career races with a best finish of second two times.
Gomez Motorsports is owned by John Gomez, a successful farmer and businessman, with team support lead by Craig Raudman, a NASCAR championship winning driver. The crew includes: Blaine Bergem, Ron Copeland, Derek Copeland, Kyle Cattanach, and Dave Reed.
The race: This event marks the beginning of the 2012 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 30 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 50 laps.
The track: PIR is a one-mile superspeedway with 10 to 11 degrees banking between Turns 1 and 2; 10 to 11 degrees banking at the apex of the dog-leg; and 8 to 9 degrees banking in Turn 4. This will be the 29th stand-alone Phoenix race for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
***Six of the past 14 series races at Phoenix were extended by a late-race caution for a green-white-checkered finish.
***Six of the 28 series races at Phoenix were won by the pole winner. Three race winners started outside the top 10. Rich Woodland Jr. started the furthest back and won, coming from 21st on the grid in 1998.
Jonathon Gomez at a Glance
* Two top fives in five starts at Phoenix
* Best finish at PIR of second in spring of 2011, also best career series finish
* Average finish at PIR of 14.8
* Has led one lap at PIR
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About Gomez Motorsports
Jonathon Gomez is supported by Approved Memory, 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. Gomez has 27 career NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts with five top five and 12 top ten performance with a career best finish of second (twice). For more information on Jonathon Gomez, please log onto his website at www.jonathongomez.com or NASCAR Hometracks.