Blake Koch not sweating Xfinity Chase after hard wreck in practice

Leave a comment

FORT WORTH, Texas — If you paid attention to how Blake Koch‘s Friday played out at Texas Motor Speedway, one would assume he’d be stressed.

The Kaulig Racing driver spent the morning praising the potential of the new car his team had built for Saturday’s race, the second in the Round of 8 in the Xfinity Chase. That potential lasted through two turns of practice.

Something broke on his No. 11 Chevrolet, which shot into the outside wall in what Koch admitted was “probably the hardest hit I’ve ever taken.”

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 04: Crew members work on the car of Blake Koch, driver of the #11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet, after an incident during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 4, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Kaulig Racing and crew from technical alliance partner Richard Childress Racing, including an electric saw wielding Slugger Labbe, tried to discover what had doomed Koch’s car, to no avail.

“Everything’s broke because you hit the wall, so you don’t know what broke first,” Koch told NBC Sports.

Then came the backup car. With it arrived more problems. Koch sat out the first half hour of the second practice as the team dealt with a faulty clutch line. This all occurred as Koch sits third in the Xfinity Chase standings with two races left for him to get into the Championship 4.

But no, Koch isn’t stressed. The 31-year-old driver has the perspective of eight years of stock-car racing to know what’s really stressful.

“Having 50-lap tires with a car that doesn’t handle and having to make the race or go home and not get paid to pay the bills. Much more difficult,” Koch told NBC Sports. “When you got a strong team that brings out a backup car and is (15th fastest) off the truck in a backup car. That’s not very stressful.”

But the pressure is still present for Koch, who a decade ago asked Google about the best way to become a race car driver.

Eight years after his first Xfinity start, Koch is part of the inaugural Xfinity Chase with a single-car Xfinity team in its first year of existence (with help from RCR). The native of West Palm Beach, Florida, is also eight weeks into growing a playoff beard and he’s doing all he can to ensure he keeps it until the Xfinity awards banquet in his home state.

“You’ve got momentum going, you’ve got a rhythm and you just want to keep it going to the end of the year,” Koch says.

After spending much-needed time with his wife and two kids during the Xfinity Series’ two week hiatus, Koch threw himself into preparation for today’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge. Every Monday, Koch practices on iRacing with the help of Byron Daley, an RCR engineer who was at Tri-Star Motorsports last year with Koch.

“You can call him my driver coach,” Koch says. “I have the ability to take really good criticism from him.”

A sample of that criticism includes corner entry and managing his tires during a run.

“If I told you everything, then everybody would know the secrets,” Koch said.

And how did Koch spend the rest of his week?

“Every second I get I’m on my phone looking at YouTube videos, looking at notes,” he says.

Koch, who has an average finish of 31.5 in 11 Texas starts, types in “Xfinity Texas” and watches anything he’s presented with.

“If you can learn one thing out of five hours of watching videos, that one thing is worth it,” Koch says.

“Google got me here, YouTube is keeping me here.”

Kyle, Kurt Busch compete in first day of Race of Champions exhibition

DOVER, DE - MAY 30:  Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, left, talks with brother Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kurt and Kyle Busch are in Miami this weekend to take part in the international auto racing competition, Race of Champions. The exhibition event is two days and pits drivers from every major auto racing league against each other.

The Busch brothers are the only NASCAR representatives in the competition. They are joined multiple Formula One drivers, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Alexander Rossi, Ryan-Hunter Reay, James Hinchciffe and Tony Kanaan and action sports star Travis Pastrana. Prior to the start of the races, all of the drivers got psyched up together.

And right before the event began, Kurt Busch showed off his new No. 41 Monster Energy Ford by doing donuts in the middle of the race course.

But when it came time to race Kurt Busch’s had a tough day. He and former Formula One driver David Coulthard competed in the vehicles used in the NASCAR Euro Series and Coulthard crossed the finish line with a healthy lead over the Stewart-Haas Racing driver.

Kyle Busch was marginally better in his first race against F1 driver Jenson Button, who won but with the Joe Gibbs Racing driver right at Button’s rear wheel.

But Kyle Busch bounced back in his second race and defeated Hinchcliffe, which advanced him out of the first round. But he was eliminated from the competition when he was swept by Coulthard in the next round.

In Kurt Busch’s second race, he faced Hunter-Reay, who was one of his teammates when he competed in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. Busch won, but he wasn’t able to advance to the next round.

The competition was eventually won by Montoya, who is taking part in the Race of Champions for the first time.

Both Busch brothers will be back on Sunday to compete for the Nations Cup.

Kyle Busch entered into SRL Winter Showdown Super Late Model race

JOLIET, IL - SEPTEMBER 16:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for Safety 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 16, 2016 in Joliet, Illinois. Busch is seen here wearing his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series fire suit.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kyle Busch is entered into the third annual SRL Winter Showdown, a Super Late Model race at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California.

Busch, who is competing in the Race of Champions this weekend in Miami, will drive the No. 51 Toyota Camry sponsored by JBL in the Feb. 11 race.

Busch and his competitors will be trying to claim the $30,000 prize for winning the race. Kyle Busch Motorsports had a presence in last year’s Showdown when Todd Gilliland competed for the team.

“They have a pretty strong field lined up again this year with Bubba Pollard coming back and trying to make it three-in-a-row. And then you add in some of the West Coast guys like Derek Thorn, David Mayhew and Noah Gragson, who will be running one of my trucks full-time this season, and it has a lot of great drivers,” Busch told Speed51.com. “One of the things that is going to be really cool is that this will be the first time that Erik Jones and I get to race against each other in the supers since he beat me in the Snowball Derby back in 2013.”

Busch is quite successful in his Super Late Model career, having won the Snowball Derby, CRA SpeedFest, the Oxford 250, the Winchester 400 and the Battle at Berlin in recent years.

 and on Facebook

Social Roundup: 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 20:  NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees (L-R)Richard Childress, Mark Martin, and Rick Hendrick pose for a portrait prior to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Induction Ceremony at NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 20, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Last night, the NASCAR Hall of Fame inducted its eighth class, including Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress, Mark Martin, Benny Parsons and Raymond Parks.

The night was filled with current and future Hall of Famers celebrating the history of the sport and the lives of the five inductees.

MORE: Benny Parsons’ Hall of Fame induction an emotional celebration

MORE: Mark Martin went from a “broken man” to a Hall of Famer

Here’s a look at how the night played out on social media with observations on the inductees from current NASCAR drivers and one message from future NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.

 and on Facebook

‘Only in America’: Richard Childress cherishes Hall of Fame induction (Video)

1 Comment

CHARLOTTE — Richard Childress traced his Dickensian rise from humble beginnings to six championships in NASCAR’s premier series during his Hall of Fame induction speech Friday.

Childress, who grew up in poverty in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, won six championships in NASCAR’s premier series with fellow high school dropout Dale Earnhardt. After starting as an independent driver-owner who never won in a dogged career from 1968-81, Childress switched to focusing solely on running a team.

His grandson, Austin Dillon, now drives the No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing that Earnhardt made famous.

“Only in America could a kid selling peanuts and popcorn at Bowman Gray Stadium have a dream of becoming a race driver some day,” Childress said. “And then he goes out and buys him an old ’47 Plymouth (and) pays $20 for it — that was the best investment I ever made — and have a dream of being a NASCAR driver some day, be standing up here tonight to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  Only in America.  What a great country we live in.”

During his speech, Childress made several references to a wall he’d like to put in the stock-car museum to signify all those who paved the way for his success.

“I’d like to put a 10‑foot by 20‑foot granite wall with thousands of names etched in it that’s helped me all along the way to get here tonight,” he said. “I can’t thank you all, but I want to put you on a great granite wall to where I can thank you for getting us up here.

“But on that granite wall, the first thing would be my family.  My wife Judy, my daughter Tina, my son‑in‑law, Mike Dillon, grandson Ty and his wife Haley, she’s here tonight.  Grandson Austin and his fiancé, Whitney Ward.  I couldn’t have done it without you all’s support.  We are a NASCAR racing family.”