Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blake Koch’s Stairway to NASCAR Heaven

Close Racing (Moses Smith #16 - Blake Koch #21)

The K&N Pro Series is the highest level of NASCAR's developmental race series. Many great drivers have entered one of the three national NASCAR series from this level. Richard Childress, Joe Gibbs and Michael Waltrip are all team owners in the NKNPS.

Additionally the K&N Pro Series uses race cars that are similar to those used in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Therefore, it is only natural for a driver to move up from the K&N Pro Series to the Nationwide Series. While most drivers toil to that end, few are actually able to climb up that NASCAR Ladder.

Blake Koch is one of the lucky ones. I first had the opportunity to meet Blake when he raced in the NKNPS against my son. Moses and Blake were locked in tight battles race after race yet always managed to keep their encounters clean.

Blake Koch, of West Palm Beach, Florida, drove the for the Golden Gate - Richard Childress Racing Development Team for nine of the twelve K&N Pro Series West races in 2010. He collected ten top-ten finishes with three top-fives. His best finish of the year was a second place at the Toyota Speedway on the fourth of July weekend. Blake’s sponsors included Daystar, Tire Kingdom, I Am Second and Salt Life.

When I learned that Koch (pronounced “Cook”) would be driving the #81 for MacDonald Motorsports in the second Nationwide race at the Phoenix International Raceway, NASCAR Race Mom (NRM) had to interview him to learn what was up!

NRM: We missed seeing you at the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown this year. What have you been doing in the off-season?

Blake Koch: I Have been racing a little bit back in Florida, but we have mainly been trying to put deals together to run full time in the NASCAR Nationwide series. I have also been working a lot trying to make ends meet.

NRM: Tell all us fans what you and MacDonald Motorsports have planned for the year 2011?

Blake Koch: As of right now, the only thing guaranteed is PIR. MMS and I are working very hard and seeking every opportunity to run as many races as possible and compete for rookie of the year.

NRM: What influences shaped the way you approach your sponsor relationships?

Blake Koch: I think it is very important to surround yourself with good people, I put God first in my life and I try really hard to connect with sponsors that are OK with that.

NRM: The race this month at PIR will be your third start in the Nationwide Series. What have you learned from your previous Nationwide races?

Blake Koch: It will actually be my 4th start, I have learned that respect goes along way. You have to be really fast just to make the show, so team work and chemistry is really important. Getting on and off pit road is key too.

NRM: You have run at Phoenix International Raceway twice in the K&N Pro Series West. What is your favorite and least favorite aspect of this track?

Blake Koch: The fans are awesome in Phoenix!! You can race two wide there and that is always a plus with a race track. My least favorite is trying to get the car right with two completely different turns.

NRM: What's the biggest difference in style between racing in the K&N Pro Series West and the Nationwide series?

Blake Koch: The tires are a huge difference which makes your driving style change tremendously. There is also a lot more patience and respect going on in the Nationwide series. But the K&N series prepares you and develops us for a good transition.

Stats thanks to

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