NASCAR

NXS: Blake Koch Out at Kaulig Racing, Remaining Positive for the Future

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After spending the last two seasons running full-time in the No. 11 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driver Blake Koch finds himself on the outside looking in.

It was announced yesterday that Koch would be replaced by Ryan Truex, the younger brother of 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Champion, Martin Truex Jr.

Matt Kaulig, who owns Kaulig Racing, made it known on Sirius XM Radio’s “The Morning Drive” that him and Koch are best friends and he will do whatever possible to help him continue racing in the future.

“Blake is one of my best friends, he is one of my best friends. We talk all the time, we’ve been close for probably four years. I’m going to help him do whatever he needs to do,” Kaulig said.

Koch himself also said on “The Morning Drive” that LeafFilter Gutter Protection not returning as a primary sponsor was why he was no longer going to be driving the No. 11.

“I knew they were looking (for a driver with a sponsor),” Koch said. “I didn’t have time to get one, really. I got the official word a couple of days ago, but I pretty much knew in mid-December that I was going to have to figure something out. So, it wasn’t a complete shock, because everything wasn’t officially done until yesterday.”

On the topic of sponsorship it’s important to note that Truex is bringing his existing relationship with Bar Harbor Seafood Products to Kaulig Racing. Bar Harbor will be the primary sponsor for Truex in 2018. LeafFilter a company owned by Kaulig will scale back its sponsorship role but will still sponsor select races.

Koch also wants people to know that he has no hard feelings towards Kaulig for letting him go.

“I don’t want people mad at Matt Kaulig thinking he kicked me out, Koch said. “This is a mutual thing. We talked, and Matt owns LeafFilter. He was putting a lot of his own money into having me drive a race car. You just can’t do that forever.”

Koch had a very successful 2016 season with the team, finishing 9th in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. At the time it was his first top-ten of his career. Koch would go on to earn five top-10’s and qualify for the NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs, ultimately finishing 7th in the points, which still marks a career best.

Koch returned to Kaulig Racing full-time for the 2017 season where he earned five top-10 finishes and earned his first NXS pole in 190 starts at Talladega Superspeedway in May. He would go on to finish the season 11th in the points.

Kaulig said there is “100 percent chance” that he would bring Koch back to drive a second car for the team. Kaulig would like to expand to two teams this season it just comes down to finding sponsorship. There is no set date on this happening, but he said it may not happen until at least a few races into the 2018 season.

“We’re shopping the second car right now, but we won’t run the second car without sponsorship,” Kaulig said.

Koch is remaining positive for the future and showed that on his Twitter account where he is very active with fans. His emoji response to this other tweet pretty much speaks for itself and his humbling personality.

Remember Koch himself said “I’m not worried about it”, when referring to his future in racing. This is his passion and his job, if Koch as the driver is not worried about it, as fans everyone should remain positive and have faith that things will all work themselves out for Koch and his fan base.

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About Sarah Handy

Sarah Handy is a NASCAR writer. You can find her on Twitter at @SarahHandy85. A college student studying Communications/Public Relations Field and an Electronics Associate at Walmart. Sarah enjoys tweeting about racing, running, reading, puzzles, video games, and photography. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Sarah avidly follows all major New England Teams (Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins & Celtics) as well as a huge fan of what she considers her “home track” New Hampshire Motor Speedway which she attends each year.

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