Blake Koch is set to make his second-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start on Sunday, racing the No. 35 Ford for Front Row Motorsports at Phoenix Interneational Raceway. He is also slated to drive the car the following weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I’m really excited to get into the Cup car,” Koch said. “I’m looking at this as a great opportunity and an audition, too, to go to Phoenix and, first off, make the race and then, second, finish the best we can and learn as much as we can and then go to Vegas and do the same thing. And we’ll see where it takes me from there. I’m definitely very grateful for this opportunity, and I’m going to give it all I’ve got.”
Front Row Motorsports is going with multiple drivers to pilot its No. 35 car as teammates to the team’s regular drivers, David Ragan and David Gilliland. Eric McClure drove the No. 35 in the season opener at Daytona (Fla.) Interneational Speedway on Feb. 23.
Koch’s one Sprint Cup start came at Charlotte Motor Speedway last year, driving for Levine Family Racing. He finished 38th. Koch competed in 28 Nationwide Series races in 2013, posting a best finish of 11th in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“Phoenix is the type of track where I could go there and realistically have a shot at qualifying top-20 and have an amazing weekend,” Koch said. “I think I’ve raced at Phoenix more than any other track. It will still be a tough race to qualify for. I won’t have many laps in the car before we actually qualify, but I’ll just apply everything I’ve learned up to this point, put it all together and run the best lap I can.”
In Nationwide races at Phoenix and Las Vegas last year, Koch posted finishes of 16th (Phoenix) and 21st (Las Vegas). He has a total of nine-career starts at LVMS, including Nationwide and NASCAR K&N Pro Series competition.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR