Blake Koch Keeping Faith Into DaytonaBy Mary Jo Buchanan
Blake Koch, Nationwide driver for SR² Motorsports, has all the faith in the world as he returns to his team and heads into the season opener at Daytona.
“I’m really excited to be teaming with SR² Motorsports for the 2013 season,” Koch said. “Our team chemistry is solid.”
“In the races we completed last season, we worked well together and developed a good understanding for how our race cars need to be set up,” Koch continued. “We have great note packages to build on from last year, which have laid a good foundation for this year.”
“We grew leaps and bounds last season and I’m optimistic that we’ll continue that this year.”
Koch’s team owner Jason Sciavicco also has great faith in his 26 year old driver.
“Everyone at SR² Motorsports is very excited to have Blake Koch return in 2013,” Sciavicco said. “What he believes in as a person really fits our team model and where we’re heading.”
“We also believe he has the talents behind the wheel to deliver the results we are expecting.”
With the confidence of his owner in hand, Koch also has his own faith in his ability to not only get back into the race car but to take it straight to victory lane.
“I made my first Nationwide start in 2009 and then I ran full-time in 2011 and started with SR² Motorsports last year,” Koch said. “My goals over the last couple of years have been different because I’ve been points racing.”
“But me, my team and my owner, we’re going to Daytona to win the race,” Koch continued. “We know it’s possible.”
“We’ll have a great Toyota and our speedway program is probably our best program right now,” Koch said. “We’re definitely going there to win.”
Koch, like many of his fellow racers, believes that the Nationwide Series will indeed be one of the most competitive in the sport. And he is definitely planning to be right in the mix of the intense competition.
“I haven’t been in the Nationwide Series as long as others but since I’ve been in, this will be by far the most competitive season there has been,” Koch said. “You have guys that win Cup races on a regular basis, like Brian Vickers, Trevor Bayne, and Regan Smith.”
“So, the smaller teams have our work cut out for us,” Koch continued. “But at a place like Daytona, anything can happen.”
“You just have to make friends on the race track, get drafting partners and be there at the end and just go for it,” Koch said. “The season is going to be great.”
“I’m just excited and blessed to be a part of it for another year.”
Koch also has faith that the new manufacturer identity and branding will continue to build the sport and increase the popularity of NASCAR even further.
“Everybody likes a cool, sporty looking car,” Koch said. “So if the car you’re watching winning a race on Saturday in the Nationwide Series looks like the one you are driving everyday on the road, you’re going to have a tighter connection.”
“You’re going to feel really cool and proud to drive that brand,” Koch continued. “I think it’s cool that our cars look like the street cars.”
“A lot of fans don’t know a lot about our cars so it’s great for all of the brands.”
While Koch acknowledges that the Nationwide season may be some of the best racing around in 2013, he also believes that his season will be positive thanks to his own faith, which is shared with many in his fan base.
“I have a separate and different fan base than other drivers,” Koch said. “A lot of my fans come from the faith-based area.”
“I do a lot of speaking at churches and I’ve been on Christian television shows,” Koch continued. “So, a lot of fans are following me because they like what I stand for.”
“And now they are watching NASCAR and becoming fans of the sport,” Koch said. “So, I think that bringing that to the table is cool.”
“That’s just helping build the sport and build NASCAR.”
In addition to his strong faith, one of the biggest motivators in Koch’s life is his belief in helping others. Koch had the opportunity to demonstrate this belief by visiting Tripp Halstead, who injured when a tree limb struck his head, and also participating in a golf tournament to raise funds to help the youngster before heading to Daytona.
“The golf tournament went awesome,” Koch said. “We had a great time and it was awesome to see all the people there support Tripp and his family.”
“There were 60 plus teams so it’s cool to see people step up for someone in need.”
“I met Tripp through my team owner, who told me before we went to Homestead for the championship race that we were going to have Team Boom on the car to raise awareness for Tripp and his family,” Koch said. “I’m really glad to be a part of a team with that kind of heart.”
“Tripp’s signature thing is to run into people and say ‘Boom’, Koch said. “He’s a big Lightning McQueen fan from the movie Cars and a big racing fan.”
“I met Tripp for the first time on Friday and we saw him and his mother in the hospital,” Koch continued. “It’s tough to see but the family has such a great attitude.”
“People have been so supportive,” Koch said. “Even Owen Wilson from the movie Cars called and talked to Tripp.”
“Little things like that have really been inspiring to the family to see how much people care.”
Koch also has a strong commitment to living out his faith by helping others, especially since he himself is a new dad to his son, born August 5th.
“I have a new respect for Tripp’s parents now that I’m a new father,” Koch said. “I can’t really imagine what they are going through to have their son in the hospital for so long.”
“I definitely have a burden in my heart for this and I want to do anything I can to help,” Koch continued. “It’s a love that you have for your child that is unexplainable.”
“That is why it touches me to see what Tripp and his family are going through.”
So, will Koch have even added faith and motivation headed into Daytona with Team Boom on his car? And will his faith see him through even though his own future is uncertain?
“I would say for sure I’m motivated,” Koch said. “I’m a very motivated race car driver so I really don’t need added motivation but I do want to do as well as I can for Tripp.”
“I want to do the best I can every week,” Koch continued. “We’re going to go to Daytona, unload in qualifying trim and then go right to drafting.”
“We want to make sure our car sucks good and that we can push and be pushed in the pack,” Koch said. “I’m not going there to points race because I don’t know what the rest of the season looks like.”
“I don’t know anything else besides Daytona,” Koch continued. “I’m not going to worry about tomorrow.”
“I’m going to concentrate on today,” Koch said. “I’m going to try to win the race and Lord willing, I hope that happens.”