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Kenton Koch proven Racecar Driver/Driver Coach

If interested in private coaching, contact him at kenton@kentonkochracing.com for more info.

FLYING FINISH AT ROAD ATLANTA

Road Atlanta was the home of the final race of the season in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge series. With two rounds left in the season, all that had to be done to lock down the championship was to start the first race. Believe me, the entire week leading up to it, I think I quarantined myself. I have been in my first semester of college now for a little over two months and am forced to stay inside since I’m up to my eyes in homework. Therefore staying healthy hasn’t been difficult since there aren’t too many people that are sick in a library! Thankfully, I made it to the track healthy.

Going to Road Atlanta has been on my bucket list for a few years now. Coming to the beautiful state of Georgia was a plus and blew away all my expectations of this amazing place. There is awesome food (yes food, first and foremost), picturesque fall weather, and a track that winded its way through greenery and hills that you would think came out of a painting. There were steep inclines and descents that are crucial to utilizing to attain the fastest lap possible. The hills can hurt you more than help you, and with the Mazda MX5 being a momentum car, one bobble could be a half second down the hole in the blink of an eye.

Getting the car to handle properly is more important here than anywhere else. With corners being very fast and flowing, the car has to be stable. I had to venture away from making the car loose, because if mistakes are made, circumstances are escalated dramatically, whether it is a crash or loosing time on key sections of the track. I turned to a more stable setup that enabled me to achieve the lap times I was hoping for. We had a lot of track time, which was so beneficial. I spent the first two sessions getting the car handling properly, and then after the handling was down, I experimented with tire pressures. I was able to learn a lot in the five practice sessions we were given.

Qualifying went well. I qualified second for the first race and first for the second race. Much to my surprise, it started to rain during the first race. I fell back to third on the start due to starting on the outside, which was where all the rubber was (rubber is VERY slippery in the rain). I worked my way up to second, but it was too late. Lucas Bize was able to maneuver his way through traffic better than anyone else on the first lap and generated a gap too large for me to make up. I was close at the end but not close enough.

During the second race, I was able to get a good jump and ended up first at the end of the lap. I used traffic to my advantage until the end and was able to win the race along with the championship.

The year couldn’t have gone better, and the Skip Barber mechanics put together a car I couldn’t break. I am so grateful to the Mazda team and Skip Barber Racing School for this opportunity to do what I love. This year couldn’t have been possible without my parent’s support, and the One above being there for me and equipping me every step of the way. Looking forward to what we can achieve next year!

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.



 

   

Success at the Coronado Speed Festival

Glendora, CA. Sept. 30: The hometown race in Coronado went the best it could have gone. Coming into the weekend I knew we had an advantage on the competition having competed in the race the year previous. I had learned some key things last year, not only about the track, but also about the suspension setup. I came into the weekend with a setup that I knew would be a good jumping off point. With this being the bumpiest track on the schedule, I knew I had to take that into account for the changes that needed to be implemented.

The practice day went well. I went out to see how the setup I put on the car felt and it was pretty much perfect. We made a couple adjustments off that to soften the car a little bit to get over the bumps a little better when rolling back onto power.

By the time qualifying came around, the car was dialed in. My strategy going into the race was to setup a fast lap in the first couple laps and then come in and wait for the track to get faster. By faster I mean, cones getting knocked over so the track is essentially shorter. I waited in the pits with one of the mechanics phones looking at “Race Monitor” (an APP that shows live timing). Near the end with 5 minutes to go, times started getting faster, so I knew something major had been taken out of the course. I waited a minute longer, planning on timing it just right to where I could get out and do at least two laps. Thank goodness I did because I set a faster time that would go on to get pole by a near two hundredths of a second. Lucas Bize was solid competition and almost kept me from my record of nine poles in a row.

Going into the race, getting by traffic was going to be crucial to pulling a gap. I was able to put one Playboy MX-5 Cup car between me and Bize. Then a caution flag came out which bunched the field up. The flag left the field anxiously waiting. I could have either gotten held up, or passed multiple people. Thankfully, I got a good restart passing three people in turn one which was the deciding factor of the race. I finished strong and was able to pull a 45 second gap while the other cars continued to try to get by the three people I passed on the restart.

The weekend ended with the trophy ceremony being on the USS Regan. That was undoubtedly one of the most memorable trophy ceremonies of all time. I hope to come back next year and continue to race and do what I love, but hopefully in a Playboy MX-5 Cup car!
 

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.


 

Koch’s Successful Grand Am Debut at Elkhart Lake

Glendora, CA. Aug, 12 2013: As some of you may know I made my debut in Grand Am at Road America with I-Moto in the #32. This whole experience was probably one of the biggest jumps in my learning curve thus far this year. Learning about strategy, tire conservation, pit stops, and many other tricks of the trade. Getting up to speed was probably the easiest part of it all and that wasn’t easy in it self, having never driven a front wheel drive car with 250hp+.

After testing the car at Putnam Park the previous weekend before the race I had no idea if I was driving the car correctly or not. All I knew was that I felt fast. Turns out I didn’t do half bad. By the time the second practice had come to an end at Road America, I sat in the top 5. That alone was huge for me, my teammate Pierre Klienuming sat first in that session and I was within a half second. Pierre is proven to be one of the best front wheel drivers in the nation and to be within a half second of him in my debut was pretty big.

Qualifying had come the next morning and it was me who was to put the car on grid for the race the next day. With this car and tire, the best lap come’s on lap one. I had gone over in my head the previous night trying to remember all the things I needed to do, to get that one golden lap. The most important part was to not get caught in traffic and thanks to the team we got on track ahead of everyone else. All I had to do was put together a perfect lap, and that’s what I ended up doing…until I came out of the last corner and I missed a shift and lost a half second. I still ended up putting a time together on my second lap to put me P6 but I was kicking my self because my first lap was 3 tenths faster and would have put me P4. Obviously two spots isn’t a big deal, since it’s a long race but since this was my only race planned for this year in Grand Am, I wanted to do the absolute best I could to show my abilities.

My goal for the weekend was to make sure I kept the car in one piece and not let anyone push the “new guy” around. I ran P4 pretty much my whole stint until I missed a shift into the braking zone of turn 1 and got tagged from behind. I lost three spots but got two of them back by the end of the lap. 30 minutes in and I was sitting P5 under a caution, praying for it to go green so I could get back to 4th but the team ended up taking me out of the car then and put Taylor Hacqaurd in the car. With how the race was going, with all of the cautions, they thought they could make it a one stop race. But it ended up going green a lot longer than expected and they had to make a stop with around 30 minutes to go for fuel. We finished the race 14th after a long hard fought battle. If I were to have stayed in the car another 30 minutes I believe we would have had a top 5 car, but that’s racing as they say.

 

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.


 

   
The Ups and Downs of Mosport

Glendora, CA. July 22, 2013: The weekend started not exactly how I wanted it to. I arrived at the track for the promoter test not planning on doing the first session to save my tires (since we only have one set of tires all weekend). That plan was thrown out the window when the testers went to test the car to make it compliant with all the other Skip Barber cars. After the session was over they realized the car was two seconds off the pace. There is a muffler on the end of the exhaust pipe that allows you to adjust the amount of flow which in return changes the power of the car. This device is used to make the cars as equal as possible. My car had an issue with this. They ended up fixing it then going out in the second session to test it again. Turns out it was fixed, but the car was still down on power relative to some of the other cars. They adjusted the muffler to flow slightly better, and that gave me a slight boost in power. I was able to be quickest consistently by about a half second in practice and qualifying.

Meanwhile when this was going on, I was able to get the car set up fairly well for the conditions we had. It was a very hot and humid day during practice and qualifying, but for race 1, a storm cleared out the heat the night before and had cooled down about 15 degrees. We went racing at 7:15PM at night, this made the track quite a bit cooler, with shadows covering about 75 percent of the track. I didn’t compensate for the track conditions and ended up having a car that was EXTREMELY loose. I started from pole and ran second most of the time after getting passed on the start. First place in my class always had one Playboy car between him and I. I didn’t have the car to get by him. I was never really able to latch on to any car within site of me. He eventually had a mechanical, which gave me the win.

Race 2, I started on pole again and all the other Playboy Cup cars had brand new tires, so I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about other cars getting caught up in our battle. The track conditions were about the same as they were, so I made some adjustments to the car accordingly, which ended up being the right choice. I was able to hold them off for a couple laps until I had a small off in the last turn, which allowed P2 to slip by. From there on out, the race went backwards for me. A list of events happened to put me back to forth, a bit of bumping (none intentional) put me there. It was struggle just to get back up to 3rd, the car wasn’t quite as strong as in a straight line as it should’ve been. After an 8 minute long caution at the end of the race, they gave us one lap to sort our selves out. I ended up making a minor mistake passing for second and allowed the whole field to get by since everyone was bunched up from the restart, which set me back to 6th. It was a disappointing finish, but great learning experience. You can’t win them all, as they say. On to the next one!

The testers weren’t able to get enough time in the car to make it as equal as they wanted to since there was an issue with the muffler, so that kind of set them back. It wasn’t their fault and I am not one to blame. They did the best they could with the time restraints they had. Adjusting the muffler flow is different with all of the cars since all the engines make slightly different power, so it’s hard to make a perfect adjustment. Things like this happen in racing and you can’t dwell on it, I am going to keep my head up and keep pushing.

 

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

 

   

The Big Win at Mid Ohio

Glendora, CA. June 16, 2013: I am going to try and keep this short, sweet and to the point. Trust me this could be much longer than it is. We flew in to Ohio Thursday evening, which was the day that everyone was testing. The reason we chose not to test was to save our tires so I would have some life left in them by the last race of the weekend. The Skip Barber cars only get one set of tires for the whole weekend, so we have to be conscious of our tires while in practice to not burn them off too fast (this is by rule to keep our cars slower than the Playboy Cup cars). Little did I know it was going to rain two thirds of the day, so that plan back fired on me since they weren’t even using the dry tires most of the day. It would have been nice to be able to get some wet track time since there was going to be a chance it might rain Sunday morning, the day of our race.

Friday practice went really well, I was able to get the car handling just the way I wanted it to. Was able to be quickest in both practice sessions right off the bat and picked up right where I left off the last time I was there. Qualifying came very early on Saturday morning. With that there was quite a bit of dew from the night before on the track, but that cleaned off in a matter of a few laps. By the end of the session I put down two laps together that were good enough to put me pole for both races (they use your two fastest times from qualifying to set the grid for race 1 and race 2).

Race 1 was fairly non eventful except for a few close calls here and there trying to get through some of the slower Playboy Cup cars since we have to start in the back behind all of them. In the end I was able to put some cars between second place and myself. That allowed me to pull a marginal gap to finish on the top step of the podium.

Race 2 of the weekend was the highlight of my racing career thus far. Sunday morning came along and it had rained the night before but by the time we were about to get on track, the track had dried out enough to where slicks would be faster. There was still a pretty big chance it might rain in the middle of our race but the Playboy Cup cars decided to gamble and go on slicks (all of them). Skip Barber had already made the decision to put rain tires on just incase it was going to rain. As we started our warm up lap, one of the Playboy Cup cars hit the wall delaying our race about 15 minutes, which allowed some rain to roll in. This played to the Skip Barber cars advantage since we all were already on rains. About six or seven laps in, the rain started chucking it down and I was able to move my way up to the top 5 overall while maintaining the lead in my class. A caution came out for a car that got stuck in China Beach, which allowed the Playboy Cup cars to come in and get rain tires. When the green flag came out, I was leading overall and was able to keep that the rest of the race. I was able to acquire a 27 second gap from the next car in my class who finished second overall/second in class. I was able to have a 41 second gap to the closest Playboy Cup car. Going into the race my goal was to finish top 10. I was quite pleased when I was notified that I was P1 overall.

This year has been filled with many pleasant surprises and I hope to keep this momentum rolling into Canada at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

 

 

 

   

Mother’s Day Weekend, the Start of Something New

                Glendora, CA. May 16th: This past weekend it was rounds three and four of the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge atone of my home tracks, Mazda Raceway. When the checkered flag fell at the end of the weekend we came off with two wins and two poles, but there is a story to how I got to this point and without my mom, I probably would still be toying around in Go-karts.

                It all started in August of 2008. I was away at Orchestra camp in Lake Arrowhead and ended up coming home early due to altitude sickness.  It was also the weekend of the Monterey Historic’s.  That weekend my parents were planning on going to the Historic’s for a little vacation with a couple friends. My dad had driven up the day before I came home sick, with one of his buds and my mom was going to be leaving the day after with a girlfriend. When she got the call that I was sick, she delayed her trip a day to come and get me. She was still dead set on going to Monterey either way, even if it was a day later.

                She told me that I was going to go with her to Monterey the next morning whether Iliked it or not.I was not feeling very good and that night I ended up locking my door, hoping she would just leave without me in the morning.  She did not exactly let that happen… she ended up breaking the door lock and dragging my butt out to the car by my ear. At the time I was kind of a brat and didn’t want to go because I wasn’t feeling very well and I didn’t  like long road trips either.Yes, I know what it sounds like! Why wouldn’t you want to go watch 1000 HP race cars make lots of noise and shoot flames? 2008 was a different time for me. I was also content with just staying in Go-karts and did not care much about progressing into cars.  Reason being, I didn’t think I was any good and it cost a lot more than karting.

                 I ended up really having fun that weekend and apologized dearly to my mom for causing her such trouble. I did the whole,”Yeeessss, I know, you were right…etc.” ordeal. When we were about to leave the track my dad had to go to the restroom. We stopped by the Skip Barber building and dad went inside to do business while mom and I sat on the steps waiting…well, FOR EVER. To our left was a Skip Barber display with their Formula Car and Mazda MX-5 Cup car.My mom saw me glancing over at the cars and said, “Let’s go check it out!” Pops came out of the restroom about an eternity later and I was sitting inside one of the cars trying to decide which one I liked better. I was just sitting there not expecting my parents to buy anything, since it was way out of our budget. Good old Randy Buck talked my parents into buying me a 3 Day Racing School in the Formula Car, and that is where it all began. If it were not for my mom dragging me out the door, or my dad’s bowels,I literally would not be racing carstoday. I LOVE YOU MOM AND DAD!

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

 

 
   

The 12 Hours of Sebring Experience

            To start things off I flew alone from LAX to Orlando International Airport and had to find a ride from the airport to my hotel. Why did I have to find a ride from the airport to the hotel? Since I am 18 years old, I am not of age to rent a car yet. I am trusted with a $75k race car but not a $15k econo box. Seems funny right, but on the other hand who would trust an 18 year old race car driver? The only difference between a Hummer and a rental car is that, a rental car can go ANYWHERE. So after I found a ride from the airport to the hotel from a friend I was racing with, it was time to settle down and get ready for the race.

            Tuesday was the promoter test day, which included two 25 minute on track sessions. In the class I run in, Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge, they try to make the cars as equal as they can. So something that is done to make the cars equal is to send a tester to test the cars on that day to give them a baseline setup as well as get the power of all the cars as equal as they can. This does take away from a little of our on track time. Do mind that the last time I drove this track was three years ago when I had no clue what I was doing and only drove a portion of the track. So I was able to get five laps on track to familiarize myself with which way the track went. It didn’t take much longer to get acquainted with the track and get up to speed. By the end of the last two practice sessions on Wednesday I was fastest in my class and felt fairly comfortable with the car after making a few damper adjustments to get the car suited to my driving style.

            The on track activities finished up Wednesday and then the fans started to flow in with Motorhomes, minivans, tents, you name it and it was probably out there. The people at the track is what really made the event special to me. It was so phenomenal to see thousands upon thousands of people side lining the track to watch our race and many others. But we all knew the main reason the fans were all out there for, it was to see the last 12 Hours of Sebring race under the America Le-Man’s Series banner. This is also probably the final time the insanely engineered Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro was to perform on the old and tattered track of Sebring International Raceway. This car was a hoot to watch glide around Turn 1 as if it were plowing the bumps flat. This was also the only car you could literally miss if you put your head down for a split second since it was powered by Diesel engine the produced no sound at all.

            Back to the race, Thursday was Qualifying for both race 1 and 2. Qualifying went well, posting a time that was one second faster than 2nd place in my class that also broke the previous track record by a half second. My second fastest lap was also good enough to clinch pole for race 2. (The way qualifying works for a double header weekend like this is that your fastest time is your time for race 1 and your 2nd fastest time is for race 2).

            The butterfly’s start to flap their wings pretty hard right before the race starts. I always have to get into the car early to calm myself down and plan out my race to the best of my abilities. Some things that go through my mind is to expect the unexpected, watch out for drivers that may have a reputation for doing some drastic moves (since we are a separate class from the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, we start behind them. We are usually faster than a good chunk of their field). In the end I was able to pull out the win with minimal damage and a gap of 12 seconds back to 2nd place. Race 2 on the other hand wasn’t so easy. I had a good battle with Lucas Bize, 2nd place until he made a mistake. I was able to get a good lap in to improve my track record time by four tenths of a second. In the last eight to ten minutes of the race I was having troubles selecting gears which made it hard to be consistent and almost cost me the race, but I was able to limp it around for the win.

            Coming to Sebring, a track with so much history was such a great honor. To stand on the same podium and spray sparkling cider (still not old enough for the champagne) that so many other famous drivers like, Allen McNish, Mark Donohue, and so many other phenomenal drivers, was pretty humbling. By the end of the 12 Hours on Saturday night it was cool to say,”I stood in that same exact spot as those guys”. The chance to race in a GT car will hopefully come sooner than later. This marks the end of a small section of a chapter. The next race is at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, a home event for me, so let’s keep this momentum moving and go for four in a row.

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

 

   

Kenton Koch To Run Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge

Glendora, CA. Feb 15: This year I will be competing in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge, a separate class that runs with the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup as a feeder series. The journey thus far has been filled with ups and downs, and without the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda, I would honestly not be where I am today.

In 2010 I competed in the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootout and was able to earn money from Skip Barber to run in their regional series. That money was to be spent for the 2011 Summer Series at tracks all around the country. Unfortunately I didn’t win the Championship but I learned so much that it did not matter.

I competed in the Skip Barber Shootout once again at the end of 2011, this time it being called the Champions Shootout, which only drivers from the Skip Barber Regional Series could compete. This made the competition a little more difficult, with there being more elite drivers. With what I learned from the previous season I finished 2nd and earned myself a ride in the Regional Series once again. Long story short, at the beginning of 2012 I made the switch from the Formula car series to Skip Barber MX-5  series. I won the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge Championship, winning 17 of the 20 races I competed in without stepping off the podium.

Winning the championship in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge has earned me a fully funded ride in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge. This is probably one of the best ways to show what one is made of without having to spend the money. We are a family that cannot afford racing at this level. I wouldn’t be racing if it wasn’t for the scholarship opportunities Skip Barber has provided. Sometimes people ask me, “what do you have to do to get to the top?” Simply put, you have to win and make friends along the way and have a boat load of money. You work as hard off the track as you do on the track. It is not easy but if you have the raw talent to compete at the top level and are personable, Skip Barber is one your best bets.

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

 

   
Myles Regan- Regandigitalimages.com

Check out the mazda 2 build VIDEO here!

25 Hours of ThunderHill Experience

                Glendora, CA. Dec 23rd: I recently competed in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill with the Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Team under the tent of the Robert Davis Crew. Mazda built a Mazda 2 into a B-spec race car at the PRI show in three days. The car was then put on a trailer to Thunderhill to make the long haul from Florida to Willows, CA. This project was to show the durability, reliability, and how easy it is to build a race car for under $25k. Mazda is known for their cars to be reliable and cost effective, and this was no exception.

The car arrived at Thunderhill Raceway on Thursday night after a long 5 day journey from Florida. The car was fully prepared at PRI except for a few minor details that needed to be done on site. The only thing that needed to be done was a nut and bolt check to make sure everything was tight and ready to go.

I was selected by Mazdaspeed to race with five other drivers, those drivers being Charles Espenlaub, Tristan Vautier, Tom Long, Ed Bergenholts, and Scott Shelton. In charge was crew chief, Kyle Kimball, who stayed up the entire 25 Hours to be on the radio to communicate with the drivers. Everyone got up to speed quickly on Friday during the test day and was ready for the grueling 25 Hour race the next day.

                 The car held up wonderfully the entire race! The only problem that occurred was the camber bolt came loose. Charles tightened it up and the car was off racing again. We only had one penalty the whole race for a miscommunication with a tow truck that was on track. By the end of the 25 Hours the stout little Mazda 2 had finished 37th overall, starting from around 70th position. We opted out of starting in our qualifying spot to stay out of the carnage in turn one, knowing our goal was to finish, and that’s what we accomplished! Not one part broke on the car and the oil level did not even drop an ounce after the entire 25 hours. Kyle was a little emotional after it was over and he had the right to be. He worked harder than all of us combined and deserves more than a pat on the back.

I would not be in the position I am in if it were not for Mazda doing what they do to bring up the grassroot guys like me. I cannot show enough gratitude to have the opportunity that was given to me. Last but not least, hat’s off to the Robert Davis Racing Crew and all the drivers for keeping the car in one piece.

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

 

   

Koch Wins the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge Championship

Glendora Ca, Oct 21st- This season has been filled with nothing but positives for Koch. With him winning a total of 21 races of 25 this season as well as clinching the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge Championship. This secures him a seat in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge Series next year and also gives him an invitation to the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout to compete for funding for the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup for the 2013 season.

The Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge is a series that runs in conjunction with the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup and provides a stepping stone to that series. The Playboy Mazda MX-5 Shootout gives the winner funding to go racing with the Playboy Mazda MX-5, so Kenton has a chance to be able to skip one step completely in the Mazda Ladder, but is he ready for that jump? Koch said, “I definitely think I am ready for the jump up, I have learned so much running with some of the top drivers in the nation in the Skip Barber Series for the past two years.”

He has proven himself on multiple occasions to be able to compete for the championship the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup. One time being when he raced in the inaugural race at Coronado in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge racing with the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup and finishing 4th overall and just a thousandth of a second off the fastest lap set by Stevan McAleer who won the Playboy MX-5 Series this year. He is more than ready to make leap.

Skip Barber has played a major role in Koch’s racing career. Skip Barber is one of few places you can get your start in racing cars and progress to the pinnacle of motorsports in either Formula Cars or Sedans and not have to pay penny out of pocket if things go to plan. Koch has been fortunate to have obtained Scholarship money from Skip Barber and Mazda by competing in Skip Barbers Scholarship Shootout in 2010 and 2011. If it weren’t for Mazda and Skip Barber he would not be where he is today.

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

 

   

Koch Sweeps the Weekend In Lime Rock

Glendora Ca, July 15th- This past weekend Kenton Koch’s birthday wish came true. Koch took home two poles and four wins out of the four races he drove in. Koch doubled up on races again this weekend to make up for a race he will be missing this year. Koch had to battle it out with some talented drivers that have picked up the pace since the first race at VIR. Drivers Brett Hawkins and Ben Albano challenged Koch to the finish line.

In the first race Hawkins was right on Koch's tail the entire race. Koch was able to manage the gap with out over heating his tires and kept Hawkins from getting within firing range. Koch said, "I was pleasantly surprised to see Brett breathing down my neck. He showed lots of speed and I am looking forward to the races to come."

 In the next race group things were a little easier for Koch. He was able stretch his lead to a considerable amount and take the win with no challenge from behind.

 In the first group of the second race on Saturday, it was now Albano filling Koch's mirrors with his Mazda MX5. For the first half of the race, Koch and Albano worked together to pull away from Hawkins, but Hawkins was able to close the gap. Unfortunately, Hawkins had contact and was inevitably going to pit to make his mandatory stop and go safety check. After he had pitted Albano went on to make the pass on Koch into turn 1. For the laps to come, Koch was close behind Albano until he found the opportunity to make the pass. He was able to make a clean pass and take the win.

 In the next group, and final race of the weekend, Koch started on pole with a familiar face to Lime Rock Park. Peter Ludwig joined the race starting from the back. Ludwig jumped the start and was able to move from 14th to 1st by the first corner. Koch said, "I thought I got a great start, then I saw a car blow by me on the outside just after we passed the finish line. I honestly could not stop laughing for a half a lap." Ludwig defended aggressively the next lap on the front stretch, but Koch decided to take the risk and go two wheels in the grass to make the pass on the inside.  In turn 1 they both went deep on the brakes but in the end Koch was in the lead. By the end of the race, Koch was able to build a gap and win due to Ludwig battling with Albano, Daniel Conway, and Jim Craige.

 Koch gained beneficial knowledge and was able to keep almost all four wheels on the track the entire weekend. Koch said, "Things went exactly to plan this weekend and I was able to learn a little more about how to conserve my tires on a hot and humid day. Let's hope we can continue our luck this year." As for Albano, Hawkins, Hixon, and Conway, they will be key competitors for Koch this season.

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

 

   
Koch Dominates Again Winning 3 of 4 at Road America

Glendora, CA July 9th -At only 18 years of age, driver Kenton Koch showed Elkhart, WI that age is only a number by taking home three of four checkered flags and one second place finish. Koch raced in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge at Road America for rounds five and six of the season. Koch would have ended the weekend perfect if not for the efforts of racer Bryan Hixon. Hixon managed to hold Koch off in one race and provided him with much opposition, making Kenton’s weekend that much more difficult.

Koch got a great start in his first race and managed to create a marginal gap to second, but a full course caution bunched the field up for a single file restart taking away his comfortable lead. Hixon and Koch battled it out for the remainder of the race. Then in the last lap, Koch made an attempt to pass for the lead going into turn 12. He over shot the apex by a few feet and Hixon barely squeezed by for the win.

 After the race Koch said, “I had a plan to pass him in Canada corner (Turn 12) knowing I was stronger on the back half of the track but when I went to the brake’s, I got into the ABS just a little too much and didn’t get the car slowed down enough, allowing him to get by.”

 Koch dominated the rest of the weekend, leading from flag to flag in two of the remaining three races. Hixon caused Koch to defend aggressively remaining right on his tail the entire weekend. He had his mirrors full the entire time but managed to keep him there in all three races. “I was able to just barely hold him off by the end due to some good runs out of the important corners leading onto the long straights,” said Koch. “The draft played a large role in how the race panned out.”

He left with added knowledge and accomplishment as he raced door to door with Hixon the entire weekend. “Running wheel to wheel with Bryan has given me some great experience in learning how to keep the opponent behind without losing too much time,” said Koch. “I haven’t had this much fun in a very long time.”

Hixon was a force to be reckoned with this past weekend and will be a strong competitor for Koch as they battle it out for the remainder of the season.
 

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

 

   

Koch Shines in Pro Race Debut!

 Glendora, CA May 21st -Kenton Koch, age 17 and a Junior at Glendora High School, participated in his first pro race in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge, a support series for the Playboy MX-5 Cup. Kenton showed competitive speed with most of the Playboy Cup cars. The race was held at the world renown Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This was a one off event for him this year. "I am really disappointed not to be doing the whole season,” he said. “But I have something in store for next year. This year we are doing the whole Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge on scholarship money from the Skip Barber Race Series Champion Shootout."

 In both races, Kenton had smooth jumps off the line passing three to four Playboy cup cars before the start/finish line after starting pole in both races. Zachary Lee was also able to make phenomenal starts and get by Kenton into turn two both times for first place. As the race played out Kenton was able catch and pass Zachary and was able to put a couple Playboy Cup cars between them to pull a big enough gap to take the wins. "I had nerves like no other on the grid, as we waited to get the green for my first pro race ever. It did not help that we were doing standing starts and that I had to worry about stalling and making a fool out of myself. But I was able to get off the line successfully both times, that alone was a win in my book."

 The one highlight of his weekend was the autograph session on Friday. All of the young kids with their eyes peeping over the top of the table asking for a autograph and if there were stickers they reached up and grabbed nearly all that were laid out. “It made me a little emotional looking at all of these kids, knowing that was me ten years ago. I know I am not quite pro yet, but in their minds I might as well of been Michael Schumacher,” he said. “As they reached the end of the line, they had their arms so full they were leaving a trail of stickers and hero cards behind them for their parents to pick up. It made me realize I am on my way to living my boy hood dreams I thought was never possible at the time. Without Mazda and Skip Barber I would not be where I am today."

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

Kenton Koch makes the switch

Glendora, California May 2nd-This past weekend Kenton drove in the Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Challenge instead of the planned Formula Series in the first two rounds of the Summer Series at VIRginia International Raceway. The weekend went perfect for him, getting two poles, a track record, and four wins (He ran a double weekend due to schedule conflict later in the year). "I'd say the weekend could have gone better but not by much. I am one to think that things could always be better, I am never satisfied. I always want to go faster and improve on everything I need to improve on to become a better driver." The switch has proved to be a good decision so far. This seasons championship is not going to be easy to win since there are some good drivers in the series including some series veterans.

Kenton Koch has made a crucial decision in his career to switch from open wheel racing to Sedan closed wheel racing, so far the decision is looking to be a good one. "We made the switch, keeping the big picture in mind. We didn't really consider switching until the last minute, the night before we set on track to qualify that weekend because we never looked into it in depth. For us it seems like a logical decision to do Closed wheel racing, with there being more opportunities." Having asked tons of people what they think about his decision he made, lots of people would agree that sedans are the way to go because there are many opportunities. "I believe it has been staring at us in the face for awhile we just never looked into it, and after a lot of contemplation, we thought, why are we in open wheel right now? PLUS since I am of a fairly tall stature its not much a disadvantage in sedans."

Next up is the Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Pro Challenge race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca scheduled for May 9th through the 12th. This will be a one off event for him this year, with perhaps another one if he does well. He will be doing the entire season in the Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Challenge though. "I am very excited to be competing in this event and getting a little bit of media exposure as well as get to go around the paddock and talk to people, since the race will be on the same weekend as the American Le Mans Series as well Pirelli World Challenge Series." All in all this one off event will be extremely beneficial in terms of experience and as well as getting the chance to network.

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

 

   
Kenton Koch ready to RACE!

The Skip Barber Summer Series will be kicking off it's season at the world famous VIRginia International Raceway, and Kenton will be attending as well as the rest of the Summer Series. "I am super excited to start the season off at one my most favorite tracks. Last year I had some luck and came home with a win there. I am hoping to repeat this year". This track is not new to him, racing on it last year in Skip Barber and also in an endurance race called 13 Hour Charge of The Headlight Brigade driving with Chris Smith Racing in an MX-5 Cup car. There will be no excuses for being slow here! "I have also been training in the off season, going to the gym constantly and feel I am in the best shape I have ever been in. I will not be satisfied with anything but a championship this year and I feel I have the skill to do so."

Also Kenton would like to announce a new partnership with Thomas Merrill. He will be giving him support through the season in regards of Driver Coaching as well as Career Planning. "I am really looking forward for what he has in store for me this season. He has a lot of knowledge of about the business side of the sport as well as racing. Partnering up with Thomas will be a huge advantage for me this season." 

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

 

Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge!

Kenton Koch is proud to announce that he will be competing in the MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge is running as a support series with the Playboy MX-5 Cup Series and has shown to have some great competition in both the Playboy and Pro Challenge Series. "I am very excited to be driving in the Pro Challenge and I am looking forward to getting into a sedan. I do not think I will have any problems adapting to the car because of how much track time there will be, which I am surprised and thrilled at how much we will be given."

The amazing part of this all is that it will be aired on T.V., giving chances to gain media exposure as well as experience in front of camera. "To be honest I am a little bit nervous about being interviewed in front of a national audience for the first time, if I get the chance of course, but I know that I won't have a problem giving a confident interview when the opportunity comes up." In addition to all of this the Pirelli World Challenge, Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama, and American Le Mans Series Presented by Patron will be there!

Thanks for the support from

His Parents, Thomas Merrill Motorsports, GoPro Cameras, Skip Barber Racing School Mazda, and Mazdaspeed Motorsports.

For more Information about his sponsors/partner, please click the highlighted name of your choice.

 

Skip Barber Summer Series schedule has been announced! Go check out my schedule to see where I am going this season.

Kenton Koch wins a $30,000 prize at the Skip Champion Shootout held at the famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  

Glendora, CA. November 10th - Kenton Koch, wins 2nd Place in the First Annual Race Series Champion Shootout hosted by Skip Barber Racing School with his prize worth $30,000.00 to race in the Skip Barber Race Series for 2012. The Shootout was held at the world famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA. The event was judged by top Skip Barber instructors as well as Speed TV’s Bob Varsha, Team USA Scholarship Founder and Director, Jeremy Shaw and also in attendance was IZOD Indy Car series driver Townsend Bell and MASZDASPEED Motorsports communications officer Dean Case.                  

There were four sessions of on track driving during the weekend. The drivers were awarded points for the fastest lap time and fastest average lap time. Deductions were made if they had a spin, went four wheels off or crashed.  From day one and throughout the competition the drivers were observed on and off the track for personal presentation. The first half of day one, the drivers had media training, with the second half of the day devoted to on track sessions.  Day two of the Champions Shootout had 2 on track sessions, with one of those being a competitive module to see what kind of decisions they made in a racing situation.  The competitive module was an unexpected addition to the competition, and turned out to be a big success.   Kenton said that, “I have never had this much fun in a long time during a racing situation”.   

During this year’s Shootout, the participants were trained in Marketing by Dean Case.  Townsend Bell gave a talk on the business of being a racecar driver.  Bob Varsha, known for his appearances on the Speed Channel and Jeremy Shaw with Team USA Scholarship were there and gave tips on personal presentation to the Media.  Day three was the day it all came down to, there was a morning track session then it was up to the judges.  Deliberations took well over three hours to decide the winners for 2012 scholarships.

This is the second time Kenton won a racing scholarship with Skip Barber, last year he won a half season in the Skip Barber Regional Series, in which he placed seventh.  It was his first season of racing the Skip Barber formula car.  “The experience from last year really helped me in this year’s shootout, because the competition was tough this year”, Kenton said after the announcement of the winners had been made.  Kenton competed against eight other Race Series Champion Shootout participants for various scholarship prizes to run in the Skip Barber presents the Mazda Winter or Summer Series for 2012 and a possible USF2000 scholarship up for grabs in the 2012 Race Series Champion Shootout.

Kenton Koch, 6’4” and nicknamed “Big Bird” by the instructors, resides in Glendora, CA and is 17 years old.  He is a junior at Glendora High School.  He has been racing since he was 8 yrs old. He continues to go-kart race to keep his skills up and have a little fun as well. Next year he plans to race the Skip Barber presents the Mazda Summer Series to gain more experience. He would like to thank everyone at Skip Barber Racing School, BFGoodrich Tires, MAZDASPEED Motorsports, Team USA for the tireless support of young racers, and his family and friends for all the love and support.

 

 
Koch Wins Barber Regional Summer Series Opener

APRIL 30, 2011 - Starting from the seventh position, Kenton Koch went on to win the first race in Round 1 of the Skip Barber Regional Summer Series opener with an amazing 0.010 sec photo-finish over second place Scott Anderson.  Koch bested the 16-car field at the picturesque Virginia International Raceway with the fastest race lap of 2:07.38 (92.4 MPH), while completing the 42.5 mile race distance with an average speed of 91.23 MPH.