Bent but not broken - Coulter finishes 11th at Bristol
After a spin in qualifying forced Joey Coulter to start in the rear of the field for the UNOH 200 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (BMS), the GunBroker.com driver had his eye on the target and was ready to shoot up the leaderboard in the 13th NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race of 2013. Starting 34th, the Toyota Racing driver advanced more positions than any other driver in the field - gaining 24 spots - to finish 11th in just his third start at the .533-mile concrete oval.
"I love racing here - it's fun," said Coulter. "We had a good GunBroker.com Tundra tonight. I hate that I got spun around in qualifying - not sure if there was something on the track or not. The guys did a really good job of getting the left side damage repaired and the truck put back together - they didn't miss a beat. It was fun racing and passing all those trucks. We were up to 10th when that last caution came out and Harold (Holly) made the call to come down pit road for four tires and fuel. I know some of those guys stayed out and we restarted 11th. On those last few restarts, we were just in the wrong lane every time and lost a bunch of spots. I think we could have had a top-five finish - we had a really good hot rod, especially on the long runs."
Coulter was the 24th truck to take time during Wednesday's NCWTS time trials at BMS. As the Miami Springs, Fla. native entered Turn 2 for the first time, his GunBroker.com Tundra spun - making contact with the wall. With only minor damage to the left side nose and tail, his No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports team was able to make repairs before the start of the 200-lap event, but Coulter was relegated to a 34th-place starting position for the 16th Annual UNOH 200.
Taking the green flag from the outside of row 17, Coulter made quick work of the trucks in front of him and was up to the 20th position when the second caution flag of the night was displayed on lap 71 for a spin in Turn 4. With a "free on entry, tight in the center" Toyota Tundra, Harold Holly brought the No. 18 machine down pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. When racing resumed on lap 77, the GunBroker.com Tundra was scored 18th.
Six laps after the ensuing restart, the No. 18 GunBroker.com Toyota Tundra was up to the 12th position when the No. 7 Tundra brought out the third caution for an accident in Turn 4. Following the lap-89 restart, Coulter settled in to race pace - using the long green-flag run to click off positions. As one of the fastest trucks on the track, Coulter made a pass on his owner and eventual race winner, Kyle Busch, for ninth before the fourth caution flag was displayed for an accident on the frontstretch.
With only 21 laps remaining in the 200-lap event - pit strategy was the buzz on pit road for the final stint. When the top-three trucks opted to stay out, Holly opted to bring his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to help his GunBroker.com Tundra that was, "loosing grip." Coulter would restart 12th for the final 12-lap shootout.
Restarting on the inside of the sixth row, Coulter made ground on the restart when the No. 88 machine stalled coming to the green - causing multiple trucks to check-up and ultimately bringing out the fifth and final caution of the night. After three short caution laps, the field was lined up for the final seven laps. Coulter would take the lap-193 restart from the ninth position.
With only four laps remaining, Coulter went three-wide with the No. 88 and 19 machines in Turn 4 and as Coulter made his way around his fellow Truck Series competitors, Crafton slid in behind the No. 18 machine as they entered Turn 1 - forcing the GunBroker.com Tundra up the track and ultimately back to the 14th position. In the closing laps, Coulter would fight his way back through traffic and would ultimately cross the line in the 11th position - his 10th top-15 finish of 2013.
Kyle Busch, owner-driver of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra, won the 16th Annual UNOH 200, his third NCWTS victory of 2013 and his fourth victory in eight Truck Series starts at BMS. Timothy Peters (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in nine races at BMS. Ryan Blaney (third) was the highest finishing rookie and posted his second top-10 finish in two starts in "Thunder Valley." Johnny Sauter and Chase Elliott rounded out the top-five finishers.
KBM teammate Darrell Wallace Jr was forced to bring his Liberty Tire Recycling Toyota Tundra down pit road under green for a mechanical issue and relegated to a 28th-place finish, six laps down to race winner Kyle Busch.
The field was slowed five times for 32 laps and the lead was exchanged seven times by four different drivers.
Following his 11th-place finish Coulter moves up to 10th in the 2013 NCWTS driver's point standings after 13 races; 27 markers behind fifth-place Timothy Peters and 99 points behind series point leader Matt Crafton.
The NCWTS will head north of the boarder for its inaugural trip to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Mosport, Canada - a 3.957 km road course - for race No. 14 of 22. Coulter has three ARCA Racing Series starts on a road course including two laps led, one top-five and two top-10 finishes.
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