Catching Up with NASCAR Nationwide Driver Blake Koch at The Track

Blake Koch at the No. 81 hauler
Photo by Rosalie Thompson for Skirts and Scuffs
Sitting in the No. 81 hauler recently talking with Blake Koch, one realizes that the Nationwide Rookie of the Year candidate is extremely happy that he has earned the right to race long term for MacDonald Motorsports.  One also gets the feeling that life would be just as meaningful to the young Florida native if fate took it all away.

Koch was exposed to racing at an early age when he was born in Daytona Beach and spent his first couple of years living so close to the track that his parents told him “you could hear the cars from the house.” He didn’t get into a race car, however, until after he left home for college.
Five months ago, racing was not on the schedule for Koch, who was pressure cleaning roofs in Florida with his stepdad, Tim Kirkland, who had introduced him to racing cars.  Koch’s racing career started with eight years of motocross which he gave up after seeing several of his friends seriously injured.  His NASCAR career was also fading.
In February, Koch was just another fan watching the 2011 Daytona 500 on TV at a family birthday party in South Florida when he saw his good friend Trevor Bayne win the race.   
Right after Bayne’s win, Koch said he got a text message from Jonathan Lamb at Daystar Television Network asking if he saw Bayne win and give God the Glory.  Lamb then told Koch they needed to get him back on the racetrack.  “From then on out, I’ve had a Daystar sponsor.”
The partnering of Daystar Television Network, the fastest-growing Christian television network in the world, with a humble Nationwide driver who puts God first in his life, seems to be a perfect fit.
“I don’t make decisions based on what friends say or even what family says,” Koch said.  “I basically just pray about it and wait for peace in my heart on that decision and know that it is the right one.”
Much of Koch’s time during a race weekend is spent either away from the track visiting local churches and talking with kids at the YMCA or just participating in outreach programs at the track.
Koch is currently 21st in the Nationwide standings and a few weeks ago, Daystar Television Network and Blake Koch Incorporated signed a new long-term, multi-year agreement which will secure support for Koch’s racing career for multiple seasons in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
“Daystar’s commitment to Blake Koch Inc. means so much to me. We both have the same goal in mind – to impact the world with the love and word of Jesus Christ,” Koch said in a statement at the time of the signing.  “We both understand that on track performance gives us a bigger platform to reach our goal and we are going to do whatever it takes to reach that goal.”
“I was able to quit my day job which was pressure cleaning roofs,” Koch said.   Now that he is able to make a living racing, his life on the road has also become more enjoyable.  He recently purchased a fifth-wheel motorhome and he, his wife and his dog drive to the tracks instead of relying on commercial flights, rented cars and hotel rooms.
“How many 25-year olds can say they can travel the United States?” Koch asked when reflecting on his newly-acquired racing lifestyle. “It is just a true blessing.”
Although his step father introduced him to NASCAR, when his racing career began to take off, Koch asked his dad, Mark Koch, to help with the business side of his racing including negotiating contracts and securing sponsors.
Koch is running for 2011 Rookie of the Year honors where his main competition is his good friend Timmy Hill, who also runs for a small team.  “That is my race,” he said about trying to beat the No. 15 each week.
“Coming into this year, I just wanted to get into enough races—I wanted to race 17 times this year—just so I had a shot at winning the Rookie of the Year.”  Koch said. Now he will run a full season.
Although Hill currently is ahead of Koch in the total standings after Kentucky, the ROTY honors are handed out based on only the top 17 finishes so the standings can change dramatically as the year progresses.
Meanwhile, Koch is loving life on and off the track.  While chatting with Koch in the hauler, walking with him as he signs autographs or watching him at an outreach event, it is obvious that Koch is pretty happy with where his life is today and very grateful to all those who have made that possible.

Catching Up with NASCAR Nationwide Driver Blake Koch at The Track Catching Up with NASCAR Nationwide Driver Blake Koch at The Track Reviewed by Rosalie Thompson on Monday, July 11, 2011 Rating: 5