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New Xfinity Series team to debut with Blake Koch as its driver

NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200

DARLINGTON, SC - SEPTEMBER 05: Blake Koch, driver of the #8 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Toyota, takes part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway on September 5, 2015 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)

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When the Xfinity Series kicks off its new season on Feb. 20 at Daytona International Speedway, there will be a new player in the game.

A new full-time team, Kaulig Racing, will make its debut, with promising young driver Blake Koch behind the wheel, the team announced Wednesday in a media release.

“I am extremely excited to finally announce the formation of Kaulig Racing,” team owner Matt Kaulig said. “This is an exciting project and venture that we’ve been working on for months, and it’s great to finally introduce our team. I have a vision of how I want to build this team and the pieces are coming together quickly.”

Kaulig and his LeafFilter Gutter Protection company had sponsored Koch several times in races in both Sprint Cup and the Xfinity Series in the last two seasons.

Koch, most recently with TriStar Motorsports, will drive the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet Camaro for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series. The new team will be based in Kernersville, North Carolina (near Winston-Salem) and will be a one-car operation to start with.

It will also have a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.

”We are pleased to collaborate with Kaulig Racing as they establish themselves within the highly competitive NASCAR Xfinity Series,” Mike Dillon, vice president of competition for Richard Childress Racing said in a statement. “Blake has a tremendous amount of talent behind the wheel of a race car and we wish him, Matt, and everyone associated with Kaulig Racing success as they establish their identity and enter the 2016 season.”

A native of West Palm Beach, Florida, the 30-year-old Koch previously raced for RCR in the K&N Pro Series West in 2009. He’s made 147 career starts in the Xfinity Series with a top season finish of 17th in 2015.

“I can’t even put into words how excited I am for this opportunity,” Koch said. “Watching it all come together is something very special, and (crew chief) Chris Rice has done an amazing job assembling this team. Matt (Kaulig) and LeafFilter Gutter Protection have given us everything we need to be competitive.”

In addition to serving as Koch’s crew chief, Rice is also general manager of the new team.

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