MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Joey Coulter’s bid for the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship begins Friday night when he pilots the No.18 GunBroker.com Tundra in the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 22-year-old driver, who will begin his third full-time season in the Truck Series and first with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), knows that a strong start to the season will play a pivotal role in improving upon his third-place finish in the final point standings from last season.
Coulter was relegated to an 18th-place finish in last year’s season-opening race at Daytona after being involved in a last-lap accident. He dug a further hole in the point standings when in the second race of the season, at Martinsville, he cut a tire near the hallway mark and wound up finishing 30th. The Florida native found himself 24th in points after two events and his championship hopes were very slim with a 22-race schedule in the Truck Series.
Under the veteran leadership of crew chief Harold Holly, Coulter and the No. 22 team mounted a remarkable rally over the final 20 races of the season. The talented youngster picked up his first career Truck Series win at Pocono Raceway in August, captured three pole awards and each week slowly but surely moved up the point standings. When the season was finished, he had accumulated eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes and over the final 20 races of the season accumulated more points (749) than any other driver.
In the final seven races of the season, the 2011 Truck Series Rookie of the Year posted five of his eight top-five finishes, including third-place results in the final two races of the seasons and ended the season third in the final Truck Series point standings, 19 points behind James Buescher, the 2012 champion.
Coulter heads into the 2013 season with a new team, a new number and a new sponsor. The talented youngster is hoping all the changes will be for the better and it will allow him to get off to a strong start in his bid for the 2013 Truck Series championship.
Joey Coulter, Driver of the No. 18 NCWTS GunBroker.com Tundra:
What have you been doing in an effort to ensure that you get off to a fast start this year? “I’ve been down in Florida running both dirt and pavement late models – just trying to get a lot of seat time before the Truck Series season starts. Anytime you can get behind the wheel of any race vehicle, it helps knock the dust off and gets you fired up for the start of the season. Harold and I feel like we’ve never really had a good start to a season, so hopefully running all these races and having some good finishes will help. I hope to gather a few trophies before the big race on Friday night.”
How has the transition to KBM and Toyota gone so far? “It’s been a smooth transition. Everybody at both KBM and Toyota has gone out of their way to make sure that Harold and I have what we need to succeed. We tested at Gresham (Motorsports) and it went really well. Toyota has been fantastic in getting my engineer up to speed on all the technology that he has at his disposal. It is pretty amazing what they do for their teams — I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m excited to get to Daytona. All the guys have been working really hard on my GunBroker.com Tundra.”
What is your goal for the 2013 season? “To go win the championship — Harold and I were hired to win KBM their first driver’s championship and we feel like we have a great shot at it. All the things that we’ve learned working together the past few years, we can plug into the winning formula that KBM has already established. If we can mesh everything together and get off to a really good start, I think that we’ll be the team to beat at the end of the year.”
Harold Holly, Crew Chief of the No. 18 NCWTS GunBroker.com Tundra:
What needs to happen for Joey to get off to a better start this season? “Joey and I sat down and we tried to look at where we were last year — what our average qualifying spot was, what our average finish was and which races got us. Basically, it was the first two races of the season that cost us the championship. At Daytona you are at your competitor’s mercy, so I don’t really know what you can do. Last year, we were racing for the win in a green-white-checkered finish and got wrecked — there is not a lot you can do about that. At Martinsville, we had a failure that we probably could’ve stopped. The biggest thing is to look at the mistakes we did make in the past and try not to repeat them.”
How has the transition to a Toyota team gone for you? “This is the first time for me in the Toyota camp and I’ve been amazed at what they have to offer. Once I got here, I was able to see what is available to us and then got to visit TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and see the tools they have — their tools are really sharp and they have a lot to offer that will help our race team.”
Joey Coulter’s No. 18 GunBroker.com Tundra:
KBM-13: The GunBroker.com team will be unloading a brand new Tundra for Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250.
-Kyle Busch Motorsports PR