Congratulations on Career Best Finish
- Started: 16th
- Finished: 8th
- Laps: 149/149
- Status: Running
- Driver Points: 13th
- Owner Points: 18th
Richmond, VA (April 23, 2016)- Battling rain showers throughout the day Friday, Blake Koch and the rest of the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) were forced to wait an extra day before they could get on track at Richmond International Raceway. With the schedule changing to adapt for one less track day, NXS qualifying was cancelled in exchange for a 55-minute practice session before Saturday afternoon’s NXS 250.
Koch quickly found his No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection™ Chevrolet Camaro towards the top of the leaderboard during practice, in eighth. However, with only a few laps under his belt for the weekend at the 0.75-mile track, Koch discovered a power steering problem, forcing the LeafFilter Racing team to change power steering pumps before the practice session was over.
With heat races taking place for the second consecutive weekend, Koch started 10th in Heat 2 per the rulebook setting the field. Fighting with a Chevrolet Camaro that had “no drive off,” Koch battled his way to an eighth-place finish in his 35-lap heat, lining him up 16th for the NXS 250.
Losing a couple spots on the initial start of the 140-lap main event, it was quickly apparent that Koch’s No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection™ Chevrolet Camaro was extremely fast on a long green flag run. Battling his way through the pack in front of him, Koch made his way into the top-15 after only 50 laps on track.
With the race staying green for the first 99 laps, Koch was forced to pit under green, like the rest of the field, relinquishing him a lap down to the leaders. Coming to the attention of his LeafFilter Gutter Protection™ team, crew chief Chris Rice made the call for four tires, fuel and to take a piece of tape of the grill to aid in a Chevrolet Camaro that had “lost drive off” once again.
When green flag pit stops had cycled through, Koch was scored on the lead lap in 14th, where he remained until leader, Dale Earnhardt Jr., put him a lap down with only 25 laps remaining. However the first caution flag of the race waved on lap 127, completely changing the strategy of the NXS 250. Rice made the call to keep Koch on the track, electing to take the “wave around” to put him back on the lead lap when the field went back green with seven laps left.
Restarting 14th, Koch had to make some evasive maneuvers on the restart to avoid a major wreck that took place directly in front of him, drawing the caution flag out for the final time on lap 135. Looking to take advantage of strategy, Koch came down pit road for four tires, fuel and more tape off the grill to prepare him for the final restart of the race.
Lining up 11th for the first and only attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Koch was able to grab three more spots, crossing the finish line in a career-best eighth-place to eventual race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“I got a career-best finish in this LeafFilter Gutter Protection™ Chevy today." Blake stated. "I can’t thank everyone at LeafFilter™ enough for this opportunity. If it wasn’t for them selling so much LeafFilter™, I wouldn’t be able to come out here and finish in the top-10. It was an amazing feeling being that fast and running up front all day. Aside from that, we definitely needed a good finish after the troubles we’ve had the last two weeks. It was an awesome day in points for us.”
Get Social with Blake Koch
- Blake Koch was eighth in the lone NXS practice session Saturday morning at Richmond International Raceway after rain cancelled both Friday sessions.
- With qualifying cancelled due to rain Friday, Koch lined up 10th for the second heat race of the day. Koch finished eighth in his heat race, giving him a 16th-place starting spot for the 140-lap main event. He raced to a career-best eighth place finish at the 0.75-mile oval.
- The Kaulig Racing™ driver gained two positions in the 2016 NXS driver point standings, jumping to 13th, after the eighth race of the season, only 113 points behind leader Daniel Suarez, just 11 points outside the Chase cutoff point.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the NXS 250 at Richmond International Raceway followed by Ty Dillion (second), Elliott Sadler (third), Daniel Suarez (fourth) and Austin Dillion (fifth).
- Up next: Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. on Sat., April 30
Team Press Release