For Koch, the honor is his fifth rookie award this season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and it makes one thing very evident, he is closing in on his rival Timmy Hill for the point lead in the 2011 NNS Rookie standings. Entering Friday's event, Koch was just 17 points behind Hill. When the checkered flag waved in the Feed the Children 300, Koch crossed the line in the 22nd position, three laps ahead of Hill who finished the race in 26th.
After a strong run at Daytona last weekend that ended with a cut tire and some disappointment. Koch and the MacDonald Motorsports Team rolled into Kentucky Speedway looking for some redemption and set their sights on earning the Rookie of the Race Award. By accomplishing that goal they made the battle for the title closer than ever.
"We had a really great run here in Kentucky, this place is a lot of fun to race at," said Koch, who had never raced at the facility prior to Friday night. "I came here with a goal to get another Rookie of the Race award and we did it. I have to thank everyone on the Daystar Racing team for all their hard work."
Koch qualified 27th for Friday's Feed the Children 300 on the 1.5 mile tri oval. His qualifying run was 1.164 seconds off of the leaders pace. By continuing to use the great patience he has shown for much of the season and communicating well with his crew chief and spotter Koch remained out of trouble for the event and raced his way towards the top 20. He took the checkered flag behind Aric Almirola and Steve Wallace.
With his 22nd place finish, Koch drove MacDonald Motorsports #81 to a career best finish at Kentucky. Previously the North Carolina based team's best run was a 26th place finish in 2004 and 2006 with former drivers Jamie Mosley and D.J. Kennington. The strong Kentucky finish was significant for Koch, not only in the Rookie standings but in the NASCAR Nationwide point standings as well where he has moved into the 20th position overall.
Friday's event had six different leaders and eight lead changes. Only 24 laps were turned under the caution flag, producing the longest green flag racing stretch in history for the series at Kentucky. The Daystar Television Network crew did an excellent job throughout the night to keep their pit stops to a minimum and maximize their efficiency to keep Koch ahead of Hill late in the race.
Koch proudly carries the primary sponsorship of the Daystar Television Network. This Emmy award winning faith based network is dedicated to spreading the gospel 24 hours a day, seven days a week all around the globe through all media formats possible. Daystar is the fastest growing and one of two of the largest faith-based networks in the world today and can be viewed on all major and secondary satellites and cable systems. Daystar programming reaches over 200 countries into more than 91 million homes in the United States and 680 million homes globally.
Next Saturday, Koch and the Daystar #81 will compete on the famed New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire for the New England 200. For Koch, the magic mile will not be strange ground for the 25-year old driver as it is one of the few tracks he has previously competed on in his young racing career. Next Saturday's race will be broadcast live on ESPN at 3:30 p.m. eastern time.
To learn more about Blake Koch and his Daystar Racing Team, visit their official website at http://www.daystarracing.com. When visiting the site be sure to enter to win a day with Blake Koch at Texas Motor Speedway in the fall. You can also find up to date statistics, photos, unique videos, and new apparel; including brand new Daystar Racing hats just like the ones worn by the team. You can find Blake Koch and his DaystarRacing Team on Twitter (@BlakeKochRacing)
Full results of Friday's race and information on the NASCAR Nationwide Series can be located at www.nascar.com. Also, be sure to vote for Blake Koch at NASCARnationwideseries.com for "Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver of 2011". People can vote once per day until the poll ends in November.
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Daystar Television Network is the fastest growing faith based network in the world, reaching over 91 mil homes in the US and 680 mil homes worldwide. The network features popular original programming, live events, and sponsors NASCAR driver Blake Koch.