Friday, September 17, 2021

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Koch Earns Track Best Finish at New Hampshire

Blake Koch brought the No. 11 Leaf-Filter Gutter Protection Chevrolet Camaro home 13th in Saturday’s Overton’s 200 in New Hampshire. Koch qualified 14th and kept a rather consistent pace during the race, something the team needed to do after the having three straight disappointing finishes.

“It felt so good just to finish the race today in one piece after a tough couple of weeks,” said Koch. “Our No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection team brought a really fast Camaro and we were able to capitalize on the improvements we made overnight after practice on Friday. This finish will give us some great momentum to carry into the races ahead.”

With weather on the minds of teams, the Overton’s 200 took the green flag. The field completed 30 laps before caution was thrown for David Starr making contact with the wall. The yellow flag later turned to red as rain began to fall from the dark and gloomy New England sky. Koch sat 15th while trying out the high and low lines of the track, testing the track early.

Drivers were called to their cars nearly an hour after the red flag came out. The dark, gloomy skies were replaced with bright sunshine taking place. Chris Rice called for track position as the No. 11 stayed out putting Koch in fourth with 10 laps remaining in Stage 1. For the first time of the afternoon, we saw the importance of tires as those drivers who took tires moved up the field passing drivers who stayed out, Koch being one of those drivers who fell. As the green checkered flag was displayed, Koch sat 11th, just outside of earning stage points by one spot. Koch’s crew chief brought him down pit road for fresh tires, a full tank of Sunoco Fuel, and an air pressure adjustment to help the handling.

Koch restarted 20th for stage two and had moved his way up to 15th with 20 to go in Stage 2. As Stage 2 ended, Koch finished 13th. Another pit stop to help set the car up for the final shootout called “The Final Stage”. Four fresh Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel, and an air pressure adjustment to help loosen up the car highlighted that pit stop.

Koch restarted 14th at the beginning of Stage 3. Koch worked his way up a spot at the halfway point and maintained that spot until he made his final stop of the afternoon under green. A flawless two-tire stop allowed Koch to maintain the spot and he would cross the finish line 13th, earning his best finish since Bristol where the team finished ninth.

Despite not earning any stage points, Koch leaves New Hampshire 11th in points. He sits 296 points behind points leader Elliott Sadler and 26 points ahead of 13th place Brendan Gaughan.

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