A promising run cut short for Coulter at Phoenix
Joey Coulter, driver of the No. 18 GunBroker.com Toyota Tundra entered the 21st race on the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule on a mission to make it three in a row for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). Tying his track-best starting position of 10th and running as high as fifth in the first-half of the event, Coulter felt optimistic about his chances. However, a break issue with just over 40 laps remaining in the 150-lap event relegated the junior year driver to a 26th-place finish in the Lucas Oil 150 on Friday night.
"We ended up breaking a pinion, not sure what happened exactly," Coulter said. "I know we've seen them get hot for a couple races now, but this time it didn't hold together and we ended up blowing it. It was just a really bad ending to what we thought was going to be a really good night for this GunBroker.com Toyota Tundra team. We struggled in practice, but fought really hard and got it pretty good for qualifying. We were able to start in the top 10 and we pretty much stayed up there all night. I truly felt like we were one adjustment away from being able to hit it hard and contend for the lead, a couple more restarts and we would have been in good shape. It looked like it was going to be a good night for all three KBM trucks - I'm glad one of them came out unscathed. Congrats to Erik (Jones), and we will head down to Homestead next week to give it one more shot."
Starting on the outside of row five in the 10th position, Coulter worked his way up to ninth before being slowed on lap 36 for an accident in Turn 3 involving the 32 truck of Miguel Paludo. Complaining of a Toyota Tundra that was, "snug but manageable," Harold Holly brought the GunBroker.com machine down pit road for right side tires, fuel and a trackbar adjust. Solid work by the KBM pit crew allowed Coulter to gain three positions for the lap-40 restart.
Passing the 19 of Ross Chastain on the restart, Coulter was able to maintain his ground inside the top-five for three laps before surrendering to the seventh position for the next 39 circuits.
When Ron Hornaday brought out the fourth caution of the night for an accident in Turn 4, Coulter brought his GunBroker.com Tundra to pit road for four tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment to help aid in the "tight" condition that plagued his Toyota machine. Due to pit strategy with the leaders, Coulter would take the lap-93 restart from the 10th position.
In the next 15 laps, Coulter would work his way up to the seventh position before radioing into his crew that he had a problem on his GunBroker.com machine. By lap 108 the No. 18 Toyota Tundra was behind the wall and his KBM team spent 16 laps repairing a broken pinion in the brakes. Coulter returned to the track with 25 laps remaining in the 27th position.
The GunBroker.com Toyota Tundra would gain one position on track in the final laps to finish 26th in his third start at PIR.
Erik Jones of KBM won the 16th Annual Lucas Oil 150, his first win in five career NCWTS starts, making him the youngest winner in the Truck Series. Ross Chastain (second) started from the pole and led 63 laps en route to his first top-five finish at PIR. Brendan Gaughan (third) scored his ninth top-five finish of 2013. Ty Dillon and Matt Crafton rounded out the top five finishers.
KBM driver Darrell Wallace, Jr. qualified 13th but had to drop to the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments when he was forced to a back-up in the final stages of practice on Thursday night. After making his way up to the top 10, a late-race accident in Turn 4 relegated the rookie driver to a 20th-place finish.
There were seven caution periods for 42 laps and six lead changes among three different drivers.
Coulter remains 14th in the 2013 NCWTS driver point standings with 588 points; 60 points behind 10th-place Timothy Peters, 102 markers behind fifth-place Jeb Burton and 192 points behind series point leader Matt Crafton.
The Truck Series heads south to Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway next weekend for the Truck Series season finale on Friday night, Nov. 15. In two starts, Coulter has two top-five finishes. Catch all the action live on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET.
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