Koch Confident Heading into 2017

NASCAR

"The only thing making the Chase and having a successful year did for me was give me more confidence." (Photo: Getty Images)

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Blake Koch brings more confidence into the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series after posting career-best numbers in his inaugural season with Kaulig Racing. 

Koch, who finished seventh in the final 2016 standings after making the series' inaugural Chase, is ready for more as he returns to the No. 11 LeafFilter Chevrolet.

"The only thing making the Chase and having a successful year did for me was give me more confidence," Koch told the Motor Racing Network. "Before last year, I never ran toward the front. Knowing that I have LeafFilter Gutter Protection and (owner) Matt Kaulig behind me - that’s what you really need to succeed in this sport and I have that."

Last season, Koch set personal bests in just about every statistical category including top 10s (five), average start (13.2) and average finish (16.9). One of his best memories from 2016 was going to Daytona to see what started with a conversation on Kaulig's back porch become a reality with the formation of the race team.

"To see that No. 11 Chevy unload off the truck was a big deal, for it to come to life, because of all the hard work we did in the off-season," Koch said.

Heading into Year 2 with the team, Koch has already begun to prepare for Daytona by watching videos and doing simulation.

"I'm trying to get a head start on every other driver out there because you have to utilize all the resources to be better," he said.

When it comes to sim racing, Koch works with Richard Childress Racing engineer Byron Daley.

"He's one of the best IRacing guys out there," Koch said. "He'll line up some of his friends and we'll go to an open session. I try to put myself in different situations (on the track) to see how I handle them."

Along with preparing for 2017, Koch spent time with his family - making two trips home to West Palm Beach, Fla. and also attending the LeafFilter Summit Awards in the Bahamas.

"Matt Kaulig flew 250 of his employees to Atlantis," Koch said. "He rented a convention center and had a black-tie event to reward all the hard-working employees. I got to be a part of it and that was special."

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