Joey Coulter carried new colors in Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway – FOX Sports 1 – America’s New Sports Network. As the series defending race winner at the “Tricky Triangle,” Coulter was not only helping the fans count down the days until the “1” arrives on Aug. 17 with a unique design on his Toyota Tundra, he was hoping to pull off the repeat and be “No.1” after 50 laps around the 2.5 mile oval.
Although the No. 18 machine came up three spots short of defending his title in the Pocono Mountains 125, Coulter was able to capitalize on a late race pit call to bring home his second consecutive top-five finish, finishing fourth in the 11th event on the 2013 NCWTS schedule.
“We had a great FOX Sports 1 Toyota Tundra all day,” Coulter said. “We were just a little tight in traffic, but man we were really fast when we had clean air on those long green-flag runs. Harold (Holly, crew chief) made a really good call in the pits – giving us the tires and chassis adjustment we needed there at the end. We let the restarts work out for us and it turned out to be a pretty good day for everyone on this Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 team – another top-five finish and a great point’s day.”
With weather issues looming over the Pocono Mountains on Saturday morning, NASCAR was forced to cancel Truck Series qualifying and the 36-truck field was lined-up based on Friday afternoon’s practice times. Coulter, who was 10th-quick in the session, would take the green flag from the outside of row five for the short 50-lap race.
A “green” race track forced the field under a quick caution at lap two for a spin by the 81 machine in Turn 1. Coulter, who restarted 10th on lap three, made quick work of the trucks in front of him and advanced to the fifth position by lap five.
As the race continued caution free, many of the front runners began making their way down pit road under green at lap 23 for scheduled stops. Coulter would stay out until lap 29 and lead two laps before making his way down pit road for right side tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment in an effort to free up his Toyota Tundra. When pit stops cycled through just a few laps later, the No. 18 FOX Sports 1machine was scored in the seventh position.
The field was slowed for the second time on lap 43 – with seven laps remaining – as Coulter continued to battle a tight-handling Toyota Tundra. Crew chief Harold Holly assured Coulter they could not win with the way his Tundra was handling and opted to bring the No. 18 machine down pit road to the attention of the KBM pit crew for right side tires including a chassis adjustment and fuel. Coulter would restart 12th with only four laps remaining.
Taking advantage of fresh tires, Coulter used the top of the race track to battle his way through traffic and was scored sixth when the third caution flag was displayed on lap 48 for a spin by the 30 truck in Turn 1. A quick caution had the field lined-up just one lap later for the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.
Coulter once again used the top of the race track to make a pass going three-wide with the 3 and 31 trucks down the Long Pond Straightaway in an effort to make ground on the front runners. As Coulter made the pass for the third, the 3 and 98 trucks made contact, bringing out the fourth and final caution on lap 51.
Restarting third – in double overtime – Coulter once again used the top of the race track to make ground on the leaders and worked his way into the second position by Turn 1. However, contact on the restart resulted in damage to the spoiler – forcing his Tundra to experience more drag and ultimately causing Coulter to lose valuable track position and the chance at a repeat win.
Coulter would cross the stripe fourth in his FOX Sports 1 Toyota Tundra.
Ryan Blaney won the 4th Annual Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway, his second victory in 20 NCWTS starts and his first win of 2013. Miguel Paludo (second) posted his career-best Truck Series finish. German Quiroga (third) posted a top-10 finish in his first visit to the “Tricky Triangle.” Coulter and Ross Chastain rounded out the top-five finishers.
KBM teammate Darrell Wallace Jr finished seventh in his Pocono Raceway debut in the NCWTS and Chad Hackenbracht, who was making his second of four starts for KBM behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tastee Apple/Ingersoll Rand Tundra, finished 15th.
The field was slowed four times for 10 laps and the lead was exchanged nine times by seven different drivers.
Following his second consecutive top-five finish, Coulter is up to 11th in the 2013 NCWTS driver’s point standings after 11 races; a mere nine points outside the top-10, 25 markers behind fifth-place Ty Dillon and 93 points behind series point leader Matt Crafton.
The NCWTS will take a week off before heading to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn for the Michigan National Guard 200 on Saturday, Aug. 17. Coulter has two previous starts at the 2-mile track including one pole (2012) and one top-10 finish (2012).
Coulter will once again sport the colors of FOX Sports 1 at Michigan in an effort to help launch the new network on race day – Saturday, Aug. 17.
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