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Jun 12, 2014 - 04:52 PM
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Akinori Ogata Sets Sights On Pensacola's Five Flags Speedway
Posted by: newsla on Jun 12, 2014 - 04:48 PM
Akinori Ogata Sets Sights On Pensacola's Five Flags Speedway

Akinori Ogata (@AkinoriOgata) heads to the historic Five Flags (Fla.) Speedway this week for the running of the Pensacola 150 in search of a solid performance under the lights in his No. 56 ENEOS Toyota Camry.


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Ogata, 40, made his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) start of the season in April at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. After qualifying into the 37-car starting field, Ogata’s respectable run was halted by a mid-race incident.

Since then, Ogata and his Akinori Performance team have rebuilt their chassis and head south this week from North Carolina with an optimistic outlook and approach.

“We made some progress at Richmond, but unfortunately, our day didn’t end well,” said Ogata. “We’ve took our time putting the car back together so we could go to Five Flags this weekend and be competitive with our No. 56 ENEOS Toyota Camry.”

With 10 NKPSE starts to his credit, Ogata hopes his 11th career start and first in Pensacola will attract a positive run that will lift his team with some momentum into a summer stretch of racing.

“I’ve never been to Five Flags, but that doesn’t really concern me,” Ogata mentioned. “It’s about having a good car and team behind you. We’ll work on our No. 56 ENEOS Toyota Camry during practice and hope to make it better for qualifying and the race. Even though I’ve never been to the track, my approach is similar to any other short track race, race hard and avoid trouble.

“The more laps I turned at Richmond, the better we were as a team. I know the tracks are totally different, but from my standpoint, you take a lot of that knowledge about how far you can push the car, yourself and try to apply it to the next race. Everyone at ENEOS, not to mention all of our sponsors deserve a good showing, so we’re going to (try) give 110 percent.”

While his approach is realistic, the Kanagawa, Japan native knows that he’ll need to rely on his crew led by veteran racer Dale Quarterly in order to help make it a reality.

“Richmond was our first race together and I thought it went good,” sounded Ogata. “We worked on our communication and the changes he made to our No. 56 ENEOS Toyota Camry responded with our lap times on the track. It’s our intent to keep going in the right direction on Friday and have a smart, productive race day.”

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

ENEOS is the brand name for products manufactured and sold by JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp., the largest oil company in Japan. ENEOS products are the highest quality lubricants available in the marketplace today. These products use advanced additive and base oil technology, the result of joint engineering and research with all of the Japanese automotive manufactures. ENEOS lubricants provide exceptional performance, power and protection for a wide variety of applications including race cars, motorcycles and street automobiles.

Ogata has 10 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 Pensacola 150 is set for Friday, June 13 from the home of “The Snowball Derby.” The 150-lap (75-mile) feature is scheduled to take the green flag shortly after 10:00 p.m. The race will be tape-delayed on FOX Sports 1 with a soon-to-be released air date. All times Eastern.

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