Blake Koch Battles Adversity to Score Track-Best Finish in Atlanta

Heading to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the sixth time in his NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) career, Blake Koch’s No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection™ Chevrolet Camaro was dialed in when the weekend started. Finishing third, 14th and 12th-quickest in Friday’s practice sessions, the West Palm Beach, Fla. native qualified 13th for the Heads Up Georgia 250, his best career starting spot at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Fighting a “tight” handling Camaro from the drop of the green flag, crew chief Chris Rice elected to bring Koch down pit road, under the second caution flag period of the race on lap 9, for four tires, fuel and an adjustment. Restarting 30th, the 30-year-old driver methodically worked his way through the pack, running lap times comparable to the leaders.
Working his way back within the top-15, Koch was able to come to the attention of his No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection™ pit crew for another set of Goodyear tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment, when the yellow flag was displayed once again on lap 50. Koch restarted the 163-lap event from 11th, and remained in the top-15 until a flat tire forced him to hit pit road under green on lap 94.
Returning to the track two laps down to the leaders in 21st, Koch was not discouraged. The Kaulig Racing™ driver maneuvered his way back to 12th, only one lap down, battling to make his way back on the lead lap. Despite his efforts, Koch remained one lap down when the caution flag was displayed on lap 124.
Coming down pit road for four tires, fuel and an adjustment to tighten his “loose” Chevrolet Camaro up, Koch restarted 14th with just 37 laps to go. Positioned to pick up his second top-15 finish in a row, and his first at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Koch radioed to his No.11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection™ team that he had a right front tire going down with only two laps left in the Heads Up Georgia 250.
Forced to come down pit road when the tire began to shred, Koch was relegated to a 20th-place finish, two laps down to race winner Kyle Busch. Despite a heartbreaking finish to his day, Koch’s top-20 finish is a career-best for him at the 1.5-mile track.
“The right front tire started coming apart with two laps to go in the race. Only a couple guys got by me at that point, but then I had no choice but to come down pit road before it damaged the car. It was just wrong place wrong time I guess. We were running in the top-15 almost all day, which is where we wanted to be. We have Las Vegas next week though, and we’ll be better.” 

Kaulig Racing PR