Former student turned Nascar driver visits Bak


Jessica Samons

Blake Koch teaches about aerodynamics principles to the students. The event contained STEM activities that taught them how the designs of race cars utilizes those principles.

Blake Koch, NASCAR driver and a Bak alumnus came for a pit stop here, and taught students about race car driving on the track and the science behind it.

  “I thought that I could do it better than everybody else; I knew that NASCAR was an option and I chased that dream,” Koch said.

  Koch was a former communications major at Bak (attended as an eighth grader in ’99), and in retrospect he believed that being a student at a performing arts school helped him in his career.

  “Being a student at Bak was huge for me. Doing stuff like being on television and in front of the camera helped me to be able to do it when the time was necessary,” Koch said.

  Koch first started racing when he was 21 years old, locally in trucks.

  Koch said, “It is all about the race and trying to win, that is the part that I love the most.”

  Students learned about the different aspects of racing and the track. They first watched a video about the track and its history. They also went over the differences between an everyday car and a race car, such as they are lower to the ground and how they utilize aerodynamics principles.

  The lesson happened during sixth period on Friday, Oct. 27, with eighth grade science classes being able to go. During the session, they discovered that being a race car driver was more than just steering the wheel; drivers have to utilize science skills in order to win.

  “I learned that racing is actually really complex and relates very closely to science, which was surprising considering I had a premonition that it was an easy, simple job that doesn’t really require lots of skill,” Isabel Escobar, eighth grade communications major, said.

  The students participated in a STEM lab where they learned the three D’s of racing- drag, downforce, and draft, and how they affected drivers racing on the track.

  “We had to recreate the bumps and curves onto a paper box that we made, and we used different materials like straws and paper clips to recreate how a race car uses aerodynamics,” Sheevam Patel, eighth grade communications major, said.

  For some people, it was interesting to see a former Bak student become successful.

  “It was fascinating seeing how someone was very notable coming out from our school. It showed me the way you think life is going to go and how it can change quickly, just like he told us it went for him,” Patel said.

  After the lesson, they got to see a real pace car at the car loop.

  “It seemed pretty cool to see it and know it was used for a NASCAR event because people pay lots of money for those,” Dennis Gettinger, eighth grade visual arts major, said.

  Students not only learned the technical side about being a race car driver, but also the human part.

  Gettinger said, “[The most important thing I learned was] that if you work hard enough at something you can attain that goal.”