Blake Koch at Texas Motor Speedway… After having two weeks off since the last NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race, Blake Koch is anxious to get back behind the wheel of his No. 11 LeafFIlter Gutter Protection™ Chevrolet Camaro for the first night race of the 2016 season, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. With 10 previous races in the “Lone Star State” under his belt, the West Palm Beach, Fla. native is looking to continue his trend of improving track-best stats each weekend when Kaulig Racing™ gets to the 1.5-mile track. He’ll be aiming to better his track-best qualifying effort of 13th (Fall, 2011) and finish of 21st (Fall, 2015).
Sounding Off- Blake Koch… “Texas Motor Speedway is a track that has a lot of bumps and the grip goes away in a hurry. It’s also really fast and aging well with multiple grooves, making it really racy. Over the last five years really, the track has worn and is starting to become more like Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“I think we’ll be fast though. Chris (Rice) has had some success there in the past, including two poles with Alex Bowman. I’ve had a couple good starts there myself. We just have to remember that there is a “Chase” now in our series. Solid finishes are going to be important so we can keep creeping our way within the top-10 to build some more security.”
Chassis Chatter… Kaulig Racing™ will utilize chassis No. 006 from it’s stable of RCR chassis for Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. This will be the third time chassis 006 has raced in 2016. It was first seen at Atlanta Motor Speedway where Koch qualified 13th and finished 20th after a blown a right front tire with 2 laps remaining in the race. It was also run two weeks ago at Auto Club Speedway where Koch started eighth and raced to a 12th-place finish despite running out of fuel on the last lap.
Previous Race Recap… Qualifying a season and track-best eighth the last time the NXS was on track a couple weeks ago at Auto Club Speedway, Koch ran within the top-10 for the majority of the 150-lap race. Unfortunately, heading into Turn 3 on the last lap, Koch came up just short on fuel relinquishing him to a 12th-place finish.
2016 Season in Review…In 5 starts this season, Koch has one top-10 (Daytona), 2 top-15, and 4 top-20 finishes. The NXS driver has completed 821 of 833 laps attempted (98.6%) and has a season-best start of eighth at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., and a season-best finish of ninth at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Across 5 races, Koch has an Average Start of 11.8, and an Average Finish of 16.6.
Experience on the Box… Chris Rice, crew chief for Blake Koch and the No. 11 Kaulig Racing™ team, has 225 career NXS starts to his resume since 1999. Rice has called the shots for 12 NXS races at Texas Motor Speedway, and his success includes two poles, both with Alex Bowman, sweeping the 2013 races, and an eighth-place finish with Scott Wimmer in 2003.
Blake Koch NXS Career… While the 30 year-old driver may be making his debut with Kaulig Racing™ during the 2016 season, Koch is not a stranger to the NXS. Making 152 career starts, Koch has a career-best starting position of second at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 2013), and a career-best finish of ninth at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 2016).
Tune-In… The O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 will be televised live Friday, April 8, at 8:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and will be broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90.