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Apr 25, 2014 - 06:17 AM
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After Bristol Learning Experience; Akinori Ogata Focuses On Richmond
Posted by: newsla on Apr 25, 2014 - 06:15 AM
NASCAR News
After Bristol Learning Experience; Akinori Ogata Focuses On Richmond


While Akinori Ogata’s (@AkinoriOgata) first race on the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East tour didn’t turn out as planned, it wasn’t all for not.

 

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Ogata, 40 failed to qualify for the PittLite 125 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway last month, but the experience and feedback he engulfed then should play a pivotal role as he attempts to make Friday night’s Blue Ox 100 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

“Bristol was disappointing, because we showed we had some speed, but qualifying didn’t go as we would have hoped,” recalled Ogata. “However, despite the misfortune, the amount of information I gathered not only on the track, but from behind the scenes with the Akinori Performance team gives us some motivation and confidence for Richmond.”

Speaking of Richmond, even though Ogata has never seen the 0.758-mile track before, he’s been in this same predicament before and has risen above the challenge and made those races. Though the Kanagawa, Japan native knows it won’t be easy.

“In a way this race is going to be similar to Bristol,” he said. “There’s a lot of cars entered and only so many spots, so we have to get a lot of track time and dial in our No. 56 ENEOS Toyota Camry. From practice, we can make changes and (hopefully) get ourselves into the show and then focus on the race.

“If everything goes according to plan, our goal is to finish the race and see the checkered flag. We’re running a limited schedule, so every lap is critical in making our Akinori Performance team better. We just have to give 100 percent and hope that our hard work pays off.”

For Richmond, veteran racer Dale Quarterly will serve as crew chief. Ogata notes that Quarterly’s passion for racing makes him a perfect fit to lead his team.

“I’m learning a lot, there’s no mistake about that, but Dale (Quarterly) has been very patient with me and I think he’ll be a good coach and crew chief for me,” sounded the Troutman, North Carolina resident. “Most of all, he’s helping me with my communication and feedback, because of the language barrier, but we’re making progress and that’s important.”

In addition to ENEOS, WPC, WINMAX, MOONEYES and WRD will serve as associate marketing partners for the fifth race of the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season.

Ogata has nine career NKNPSE starts to his credit. He made his debut in 2012 at Gresham (Ga.) Motorsports Park, the site of his career-best finish of 15th after starting 26th. He also produced a 16th-place effort at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) last year.

The Blue Ox 100 is set for Friday, April 25 from the “America’s Premier Short Track” The 100-lap feature will commence shortly upon the conclusion of the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ ToyotaCare 250. The race will be tape-delayed on FOX Sports 1 with an air date of Friday, May 2 at 4:30 p.m. (Eastern).

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