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Blake Koch and the NASCAR Nationwide garage are ready for Drive4COPD 300

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The week before the Daytona 500 is always a major one for sponsor announcements for the big three NASCAR touring series. As the action on the track begins to heat up, so too does the action in the corporate boardrooms, with each company trying to vie for the extra boost that sponsoring a driver in NASCAR can bring. For Palm Beach County native Blake Koch, the temperature in the cockpit will be a bit warmer this season, as Celsius Holdings, Inc., the creator and marketer of Celsius(R), the world's first and only Negative Calorie beverage backed by clinical science, announced a partnership with the NASCAR driver for the 2014 Nationwide Series.

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"We are excited to partner with Blake Koch, who exemplifies the competitiveness, athleticism and quality of life that the Celsius brand is recognized for," stated Gerry David, CEO, Celsius Holdings. "Our partnership with Blake, provides Celsius the opportunity to reach the 70+ million avid NASCAR fans with a healthy alternative to the traditional energy drinks being consumed. Blake's passion for competing is also seen off the track in his Ironman and Tri-Athlete competitions."

Blake Koch has created a major fan base in both the NASCAR community as well as the faith based market over the past five years. In 2009, with only 20 amateur races under his belt, he was recruited by Steve Portenga to join as the primary driver for the Richard Childress Driver development team in the NASCAR Camping World West Division. Blake achieved an impressive top ten finish in his rookie year by finishing the season eighth in points.

"I first heard about Celsius back in 2009 and have been a fan ever since. I am so proud to team up with Celsius, a growing brand and to promote something I truly believe in. I start every day off with a Celsius, race day or triathlon training day, it helps me accomplish my goals," Koch stated.

Koch begins a new chapter in his NASCAR career in 2014, as he has signed on to drive full-time for TriStar Motorsports bouncing between the No. 10 and 44 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Koch will join NASCAR veterans Eric McClure and Mike Bliss in the TriStar Motorsports stable. On the Sprint Cup side, he will be racing for Front Row Motorsports in the MDS 35 Ford Sprint Cup Car in both Phoenix and Las Vegas.

"This is a HUGE opportunity for me," added an elated Koch.

The 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series season kicks off with a 300-mile race at Daytona International Speedway, and ESPN2 will televise NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying on Friday, Feb. 21, at 1 p.m. Then, on Saturday, Feb. 22, and ESPN will have a live telecast of the Drive4COPD 300 with lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick, and analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. The pit road reporters for the race are Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Vince Welch.

NASCAR Countdown airs at noon ET, with host Nicole Briscoe and analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty, while the green flag will fly at 1:34 p.m. For Spanish speaking race fans, the telecast will air on ESPN Deportes at 4 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23.

All NASCAR programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is available on computers, smartphones, tablets, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Apple TV and Roku via WatchESPN, accessible to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliate provider.

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter, and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags#NASCAR,#DAYTONA500 and #ROADTODAYTONA. You can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long, and follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising.

Over the next week or so, this column will strive to provide full coverage of the events leading up to the Great American Race, including a possible interview with the head of the CJ Mears Gang himself, Casey Mears, as well as other members of the NASCAR garage.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opens with the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Feb. 23. The race will be televised live on FOX at 1:00 p.m. ET. Tickets for NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race start at $65 and are available online or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

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