#8: Blake Koch – One door closes and one opens
Podcast with Host: Jai Shukla & Guest: Blake Koch
Q1 – You started at the age of 22 – why so late?
At the age of 21 – his stepdad asked if he wanted to drive it. He grew up racing dirt bikes which wasn’t fun. One test in Orlando and he fell in love with it. He was fast. 2 years later was signed with Nascar 2 years after that made debut at Xfinity. 6 cup races, and 200 Xfinity racers later – Blake Koch started his own company – FilterTime.
Q2 – Talk us through the reality of it?
Lot’s of ups and downs. It was a hobby initially during the last year of college.
Q3 – How did you transition from hobby to I want to do this seriously?
‘That’s just how I am. I want to be the best. Started watching it on TV, racing and winning. Racing and winning – I can do it. Taking it into his own hands. Firstly – started by calling all the Nascar teams. Everything single one of them – telling them that he was their next driver and they needed to see me and meet me but only a few gave a callback. Mike Dillon gave him the opportunity. Hey, we have an affiliate team and you should talk to them. After speaking to them, he flew out and said if you come up with half the sponsorship you can race with us. Back in 2008. In 2007, that was the first race he watched and by 2008 he was about to race. It was 25,000$ he had to come up with. He’s from palm beach Florida, made some phone calls and dad made some phone calls. Spoke to some successful entrepreneurs. So he was like wow, this is reality and I’m not even ready.
At 22,23 he understood it’s business. Understood why people are looking for it. To make his debut he went and came 4th and then signed him on. Then didn’t win rookie of the year, had a lot of crashes.
Q4 What did you do for training?
Q5 – So when did you start training properly?
It’s a broad definition of properly. But I am now a trainer for 2 NASCAR drivers. Using the knowledge he has now to help those who are in his position. 2016, he started training properly. Hired a PT, had a nutrition plan, got a simulator, made the playoff, came 6th – won a pole, made a playoff and then that was the last time driving after losing a sponsor.
Q6 – How do you deal with the lows and losing sponsors?
Some of the lows – after the first Xfinity start – he had a contract, commitments, a totally different career path – but in 2011 the deal fell apart. Sitting on the couch there is heartbreaking. Telling your friends.
Q7 – How did it follow apart?
New marketing director – changed who they wanted to sponsor. It’s such a humbling experience. It all gets taken away within a moment. Do you feel sorry for yourself? Give up? Not in his blood – started working on sponsors – and found a new sponsor and that’s how he got his full-time ride in Xfinity series in 2011. In 2012 moved teams again, lost the sponsor again in 2012, just bought a house – wife’s pregnant. Working different part-time jobs to pay the bills. In 2013, back on the track behind the car and qualified 2nd. That was a career moment.
Q8 – Why at this point – why did you feel training yourself wasn’t the key if you were coming in around 25th and then losing and getting new sponsors?
Because no matter how much you train, what coach you have if you have a slow race car – you’re not going to be able to show your skill set. So he put his effort into the business part. When the opportunity presented itself – he worked out for a 1 month, preparing, an allergy specialist. Didn’t have the money to hire people for training.
Q9 – What advice you have for someone who was in your shoes?
He thought he needed experience. So it’s better to drive a quality car in a winning race car and run up front.
Q10 – How did you come up with FilterTime?
In 2013 – lost a sponsor – and thought, what shall I do? Trying to get big money, 3 weeks of super hard work. But not a single door opened. When he went shopping – he forgot the filters and that’s when he found out there was a need for it. As the ‘aha’ moment came. He didn’t get paid – so started driver coaching, FS 1 was an analyst – while building a business online. The doors that opened were unbelievable.
Q11 In 2019 you turned down racing?
December 2018 – a once in a lifetime opportunity came – so had to chose that.
Q12 – Where is the time for anything else?
He decided the best thing for his family was filtered time. So he stepped away from racing, for the time being, get the business rolling. Still a driver coach, still an analyst and running filterTime so it was hard finding time for anything else.
Q13 – What similarities are there between FilterTime and driving?
It’s totally different. Downfall is pressure, constantly at the back of your brain, expected to bring in the wins, so take risks but don’t break the car so not too much risk, are you going to have a job next year, is your sponsor happy? A lot of anxiety, very few things under your control, always thinking about racing even when you are with your family, but there are perks to it – you have a PR person, you have your schedule you have press-release, SM, when you come out the car you have a hat, sunglasses and a cold towel. So you are treated really well. But as a business owner, the results come out of how much work you put in. So now I’m able to put in all this work and not worried about someone firing me. So the effort I put it, especially since I like working, = customers, future for my family. Everything with FilterTime was from scratch, answering emails, SM the website it’s all Blake. It’s pressure – but you can trust yourself. You have a lot more control of the success – here is the similarity – it was all about fans. With filterTime feels like fans. He emails them, talks to them and a customer interaction.
Q14 – What do you want to leave with the fans?
Being passionate – you can’t worry about the results. Listen to the bible, podcasts, positive people – you can be happier no matter what you are doing. Set goals and chase your dreams.