When it was announced that Joey Coulter would be racing full time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2013, immediate thoughts pointed towards Coulter contending for wins and the championship. Coulter lived up to those expectations, finishing second at Kansas Speedway.
“I’m just so proud of these 18 Tundra guys — we’ve kind of gotten off to a slow start. We came here, regrouped,” he said after the race.
Coulter didn’t get the start that he may had wanted for the season, finishing 22nd, 15th and 13th before Saturday’s race at Kansas. As a result, he currently sits ninth in points.
Coulter ran inside the top 10 for the majority of the event, before finding himself a lap down after a caution came out during green flag pit stops.
“We got in a little bit of a jam at the beginning of the race and these guys just kept digging, kept digging and great pit stops,” Coulter said.
Coulter would get the lucky dog and on a late caution while the leaders stayed out, Coulter came down pit road and got four tires and fuel. Then on the subsequent caution when the leaders came down for tires and fuel, Coulter took fuel only and came off pit road with the lead.
“Harold (Holly, crew chief) played pit strategy perfect,” he said. “It’s just awesome — I’m so happy for everybody on this Tundra.”
His lead was short lived, though, as he was passed for the lead shortly after the restart by Matt Crafton.
Coulter would keep close to Crafton, however wasn’t able to make the pass.
“It felt like Daytona — I knew we were both in the gas and stood on it all we could,” Coulter said. “It didn’t seem like either one of us could gain or lose anything.”
Coulter did fall back a couple truck lengths at one point due to a lap truck, but thought it’d work in his favor as he closed back in on Crafton.
“I wasn’t too worried about it and was kind of thinking it was going to work out a little bit better,” he commented. “These trucks, they punch such a big hole in the air that sometimes being a little farther back is a better place to be with a couple laps to go and it just kind of ended up being the same thing. I could get to him, but that five feet that I needed to get next to him was hard to get. I felt like both of our trucks were really good.”
The 250 mile race saw a lot of cautions as a result of drivers getting loose while trying to pass each other. Early in the race, Coulter just about spun out – saving it – after trying to make a pass within the top five.
“There’s so much grip all over the track and everybody is right on top of each other,” he said “Trucks rely on that side force so much and when a truck gets there, it takes the air off the spoiler and it’s hard to hang on to. Our truck was thankfully a little tighter in traffic so I could fight that a bit more and deal with it.”
Though with that said, Coulter thought that the repave job at Kansas was good.
“Kansas has always been one of my favorite places to race and it’s always been a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s always had multiple grooves and the repave just made it all faster. It’s smooth — it’s one of the smoothest repaves I think I’ve ever raced on and it’s just fast. You can run everywhere. These trucks — they can’t go any faster than what they’re going and it’s fun to race like that.”
Moving forward, Coulter will take what he learned and move on to Charlotte Motor Speedway in a couple weeks looking to crack victory lane for the first time this season.