Matt Kaulig, owner of Kaulig Racing and LeafFilter North, Inc., has always been passionate and involved in sports. Born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised in Cincinnati, Matt moved to the Chicago area at age 14 where he attended high school. Matt came to Northeast Ohio to attend the University of Akron, where he was a standout quarterback for the Zips. Till this day, Matt remains heavily involved in the Akron Zips community as he provides aid for the school’s football programs and lends a helping-hand in sponsoring events.
Matt met his wife, who was an Akron Cheerleader from Copley, Ohio, during his time at the University of Akron. Falling in love with the area, Matt decided to establish roots in Northeast Ohio when he started LeafFilter Gutter Protection in 2005 from the basement of his home.
Ten years later, his fast-growing company grew from one small office in Hudson, Ohio, to the leading national gutter protection brand with multiple offices that span across the nation from Seattle to Boston. LeafFilter has been recognized nationally by numerous publications, earning awards for being a Top Remodeler in the nation, and receiving recognition for the company’s growth and expansion.
Kaulig brings the same passion and drive to his newest endeavor — NASCAR. As an industry leader, and a recognized, successful entrepreneur, Kaulig has a proven record of developing new ventures that thrive. He’s excited to continue his partnership with NASCAR driver Blake Koch, which started in 2014.
In the team’s first year of competition in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Kaulig Racing with driver Blake Koch finished seventh overall in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship standings. Kaulig Racing and Blake Koch return to the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2017 in search of a championship.
Blake Koch has created a large fan base over the years while competing in the NASCAR XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series. In 2009, with only 20 amateur races under his belt, Koch was recruited to be a primary driver for the Richard Childress Driver Development team in the NASCAR K&N West series. As he finished his rookie season eighth in the point standings, Koch began to catch a lot of attention from NASCAR veterans. In 2011, after only three years behind the wheel of a stock car, Koch went full-time into the NASCAR XFINITY Series. In his first 10 career XFINITY Series races, Koch earned five top-25 finishes.
In 2017, Blake Koch returns behind the wheel of the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet Camaro for Kaulig Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS).
Kaulig Racing’s first season of existence saw Koch and the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection team make the inaugural XFINITY Series Chase. Koch nearly missed advancing to the final round of the Chase, ultimately finishing seventh in the NXS Championship standings. The team amassed a total of five top-10 finishes and led a total of 16 laps in 2016.
In 2015, Koch ran his first full XFINITY Series season, finishing 17th in points after making completing partial seasons from 2011-2014. In his rookie season of NXS competition in 2011, Koch finished second in the Rookie of the Year race. He also made his first start in the Monster Energy Cup Series in 2013 and a handful additional starts in 2014.
Koch competed in his first NASCAR XFINITY Series race in 2009, while running a full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West as a development driver for Richard Childress Racing. Koch was signed to race in 2009 with only 20 stock car starts under his belt. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West that season.
Blake Koch started his racing career at the age of nine racing motocross, but did not race a stock car until just before his 21st birthday. After racing motocross for nearly a decade, Koch took a break to obtain an Associate’s Degree in marketing and business from Northwood University in his hometown of West Palm Beach, Fla.
When he’s not racing, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Shannon and children Carter and Bailey. His hobbies also include fishing, working out and watching motocross. Koch also frequents as a speaker at faith-based events around the country and is active in the NASCAR’s faith-based community.
Native to the racing world since birth, Chris Rice is no stranger to all things NASCAR. Born and raised in South Boston, Va., Rice grew up at racetracks and around the sport. His mom, Cathy, runs the South Boston Speedway, a racetrack in Rice’s hometown, and also sits on the NASCAR Appeals Board. When Rice was five years old, his dad, Allan, and uncle started their own race team. Rice immediately started working on the pit crew for his family’s team. This was just the start of Rice’s future NASCAR career.
In 1989, Rice worked as a gasman for the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series, now known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He worked closely with Hermie Sadler, who was named Rookie of the year in 1993, and quickly moved on to win a championship in 1995 with Hermie’s brother Elliott. Because of his accomplishments with the Sadler brothers, Rice became a well-known name in the industry. He’s worked in every elite series in NASCAR with over 18 drivers.
In 2000, Rice worked at Richard Petty Motorsports then moved to Bill Davis Racing in 2002. From 2011 to 2015, Rice worked as a Crew Chief at RAB racing for four drivers. In 2015, he moved to NTS as the Competition Director and Crew Chief.
As Crew Chief and General Manager at Kaulig Racing, Rice led the team to five top-10 finishes and a seventh-place finish in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship in 2016.
In his spare time, Rice loves to golf and spend time with his wife Tammy and two daughters, Kelsey and Elizabeth.
Rice still carries the same passion and excitement he had 20 years ago. With a “whatever it takes” attitude and years of experience, he’s driven to continue the success of Kaulig Racing in 2017.