Late race incident relegates Coulter to a 25th-place finish at Iowa
If it weren't for Joey Coulter's bad luck, he may not have any luck at all. After a 17th-place qualifying effort and going a lap down to the race leader prior to the half-way point in the 200-lap event, the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra was on the fast track to a top-10 finish in the closing laps of the Fan Appreciation 200 when a late race accident with the No. 62 machine of Brendan Gaughan sent him hard into the Turn 1 wall, relegating the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver to a 25th-place finish at Iowa Speedway - his first DNF of the 2013 season.
"I guess today wasn't our day," said Coulter after being released from the infield care center at Iowa Speedway. "We didn't have a good qualifying effort because the truck was just too loose on entry and then we struggled with the same thing at the start of the race. I just couldn't make my Tundra stick in the corners like everyone else and we dropped like a rocket. The guys worked hard - didn't give up - and we ended up getting our lap back. On that first green-white-checkered restart we were in line for a solid top-10 finish, but the 62 got into me in Turn 2 and that ended our day early. It's disheartening - to have that kind of day and to come back from it and then have this happen just really show's what kind of year we have had. Our day is coming and we will regroup and I look forward to a solid run in Chicago next week."
Starting from the inside of row nine, in the 17th position, Coulter was able to gain three positions in the early stages of the Fan Appreciation 200 at Iowa Speedway before settling into the 14th position by lap three. Suffering from a, "free on entry" condition, crew chief Harold Holly brought the No. 18 Toyota Tundra to pit road under the first of six caution flags on lap 38 for fuel and a chassis adjustment. While most of the leaders opted to take tires, Coulter would gain eight positions on pit road and restart from the sixth position on lap 44.
On the restart Coulter would get loose entering Turn 1, forcing the No. 18 machine to lose multiple positions on the race track. Still suffering from a loose Toyota Tundra, Coulter was forced to search for grip on the race track during a long green flag run. By lap 64, the 23-year-old driver was scored in the 18th position, one lap down to the race leader.
By lap 121 the race leaders began to make their way down pit road for green flag pit stops. Coulter, who was one lap down to the race leader, opted to stay out for as long as he could to try and catch a caution. Unfortunately, the race stayed caution-free and Coulter would give-up the second position on lap 128 to come down pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. When the field cycled through, the No. 18 machine was scored 17th one lap down.
Just eight laps later the second caution flag of the afternoon was displayed for debris on the backstretch. Having just hit pit road, Coulter opted to stay out and would take the lap-140 restart from the 17th position, the second truck one lap down.
Four laps later, Coulter made a pass on the No. 7 truck - putting him in position for the "Lucky Dog" award - which is where he remained until the third caution flag was displayed on lap 170 for debris in Turn 2.
As the "Lucky Dog" recipient, Coulter brought his Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra to pit road for four tires, fuel and a minor chassis adjustment. As one of the only trucks on pit road with new tires, the No. 18 was set-up to make a charge in the final 30 laps of the 200 lap event.
Starting 14th on lap 173, Coulter was able to gain four positions on track before the fifth caution was displayed on lap 197 for a three truck accident in Turn 2. Complaining that his Tundra was, "tight in the center of the corner and on exit" Coulter discussed bringing his 18 machine to pit road for a quick chassis adjustment, but opted against it for track position.
Coulter found himself lined up 10th for the green-white-checkered restart on lap 203. Unfortunately, just two laps later, the No. 62 machine of Brendan Gaughan made impact with the 18 Tundra in Turn 2, sending Coulter hard into the wall and relegating him to a 25th-place finish, seven laps down to the race winner.
James Buescher won the 2nd Annual Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland, his second win of 2013. Ross Chastain (second) posted his first top-5 finish in four races at Iowa Speedway. Ty Dillon (third) posted his third top-10 finish in four races at Iowa Speedway. Johnny Sauter finished fourth and Coulter's Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate, Darrell Wallace Jr. was the highest finishing rookie in
Erik Jones finished ninth behind the wheel of the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra - his fourth consecutive top 10 finish in four career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) starts.
The field was slowed six times for 35 laps and the race set a track record for the most lead changes in a NCWTS race at Iowa Speedway with 12.
Following his second straight finish of 25th or worse, Coulter remains 12th in the 2013 NCWTS driver's point standings, 28 markers behind 10th-place Brendan Gaughan, 59 points behind 5th-place Timothy Peters and 133 markers behind series point leader Matt Crafton.
The NCWTS will make their 16th start of the season at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet for the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 on Friday night, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Coulter has two previous starts at the 1.5-mile oval including two top-15 finishes.
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