Florida's Blake Koch may be very well be humming the tune "Who Says You Can't Go Home" this coming week as he is scheduled to drive for the championship caliber Eddie Sharp Racing team in the February 27 Tire Kingdom 150 at the Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Florida. Koch will be behind the wheel of the Tire Kingdom sponsored Toyota for his ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards debut.
"I am so blessed to be able to drive the Tire Kingdom Toyota at this race for Eddie Sharp Racing," said Koch. "There is going to be over one hundred Tire Kingdom employees at the Tire Kingdom 150 and I am honored to be driving the car they will be rooting for."
Koch will be driving Sharp's #6 that is known for great success in the 2009 ARCA Championship season. While the event marks his first start in the ARCA series, Koch is confident he will perform well in the race so close to home. A former motocross rider before moving to stock cars two years ago, Koch has had strong showings in all three road course events of his career which took place last year in the NASCAR West Tour.
A 24-year old native of West Palm Beach, Koch is best known for his competition in the NASCAR West K&N Pro Series for the California based Golden Gate Racing Team and Richard Childress Development. In 2009 he finished 8th in the series point standings during his rookie year. In 2010 he welcomed the Florida based Tire Kingdom, which became an associate sponsor of his NASCAR West campaign as well as his faith based outreach efforts throughout the year.
"This is an exciting time for Tire Kingdom. Our driver, Blake Koch, will make his ACRA debut at the inaugural Tire Kingdom 150 at Palm Beach International Raceway," said Orland Wolford, president and CEO. "Tire Kingdom was built in Palm Beach County, thanks to the support of the community. Our support of a local driver at our local track is a great way to celebrate Tire Kingdom's community focus." Tire Kingdom was founded in 1972. There are 280 locations in the Southeast, of which 188 are in Florida.
Saturday Koch will drive for a team that is no stranger to success in the ARCA tour. In 2009 Eddie Sharp Racing took home the ARCA championship title with Justin Lofton behind the wheel. After scoring five pole positions, six checkered flags, 15 top fives and 19 top ten finishes, ESR and Lofton took home the season championship.
Eddie Sharp Racing set up shop in 2005 after several years of developing young talented drivers into some of ARCA's best known championship contenders. Today, ESR has evolved into the rite of passage for serious up and coming drivers who display the talent and ambition for professional stock car racing.
"It's an honor to be driving Eddie Sharp's 2009 ARCA championship car that will carry the Tire Kingdom sponsorship in the race they are presenting," said Koch. "We are going to make a strong attempt to put the Tire Kingdom #6 in victory lane."
Headquartered in Denver, North Carolina, the ESR facility resembles that of many top rated Sprint Cup teams and maintains the resources necessary to build, tune and develop championship cars and talented drivers. This past weekend Koch traveled to ESR to get familiar with the team's staff and get fitted to the seat and safety belts of the car for Saturday's race.
"We are excited to have Blake Koch and Tire Kingdom together with our team for this race," said Sharp, who will field two cars in Saturday's event.Â "I haven't had the opportunity to get to know him a whole lot yet, but I did some reading about him. He has had some success in a very short time with limited experience and his enthusiasm really shows through. He has a great attitude, we build good fast race cars and we're planning on having a really good race together."
The upcoming event will be ARCA's first appearance at the Palm Beach International Raceway. The facility is a 2.03-mile road course with 11 total turns nestled very close to the home base of both Koch and his sponsor, Tire Kingdom, who has brought this competitive series to the impressive facility.
"This is the first time I get to race so close to home at this level so I am excited to have all of my family and friends there supporting me," added Koch.
The Tire Kingdom 150 is scheduled to begin at 1:00 ET, Saturday, February 27. On track activity will begin on Friday, February 26 with practice from 11:30a.m. until 2:30 p.m. followed by qualifying at 4:00 p.m.
Following the Tire Kingdom 150, Koch will begin his chase for the NASCAR K&N Filters Pro Series West Championship with Golden Gate Racing. Koch is also scheduled to make five starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in the year to come.
For additional information on professional stock car driver Blake Koch visit his official website athttp://www.blakekoch.com/.