MOORESVILLE, N.C. – A familiar name will return over the door of the Monster Energy Camry this weekend, that of a young driver tackling the 1.5-mile D-shaped, tri-oval of Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway in Joliet, for the first time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) driver Joey Coulter will have the wheel of the No. 54 Toyota on Sunday with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in the STP 300 event. It will be the second of three Nationwide Series races this season in which Coulter is supporting the JGR/KBM Monster Energy program, initially at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway and again September 21 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Coulter’s Alabama run was strong, where he led three times and was within the top-10 in the final laps of the event, however, a late-race accident relegated the No. 54 team to a 21st-place finish.
The now 23-year-old’s full-time ride continues to be the No. 18 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entry at KBM where he has earned this year, one top-five and three top-10 finishes along with 15 laps led. In his Camping World Truck Series career over three years, Coulter holds one win (2012, Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA), 14 top-five and 31 top-10 finishes along with three poles and 135 laps led, some of those laps led at Chicagoland Speedway. Coulter is no stranger to the Nationwide Series before this year, accomplishing two starts in 2012 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami (Fl.) Speedway in which he achieved 10th and 14th-place finishes respectively.
Crew Chef Adam Stevens will continue to be a good influence on the Miami Springs, Florida native. Stevens has led series regular Kyle Busch and team to seven wins in 17 races so far this season. Stevens’ last attempt on the Illinois track was in 2012 with former JGR driver Joey Logano, who earned a pole-starting position and a ninth-place finish.
With a victory finish in last week’s event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, the JGR team and owner J.D. Gibbs increased their first place lead in the series’ Owner’s Championship points to 51. This week they look to maintain that lead with a successful run with Nationwide Series rookie Coulter who wants nothing more than to contribute to the strong performance this No. 54 Monster Energy team has had over the first half of this season.
Joey Coulter, Driver of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
How do you feel knowing you are stepping back into the No. 54 seat, now a seven-time visitor to victory lane this year?
“I have been counting down the days for the opportunity to get back in the No. 54 Monster Energy Camry. It is hard not to get excited when you know that the car, driver, and team have won seven races this year. Getting to race at Chicago adds to the excitement as well. When it comes to mile-and-a-half tracks, Chicago is one of my favorites. Its shape is unique and so is the racing that goes on there. There are always multiple grooves in both corners and lots of passing down the front stretch. Working with Adam Stevens and the No. 54 team in Talladega was a true pleasure. It is a great team backed by a great sponsor, Monster Energy. Working with them again, at a track that has a little less to do with luck, can do nothing but make me think of the possibility of a great run. I want to thank Joe Gibbs Racing, Monster Energy and Toyota again for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get to Chicago and score some more points for the No. 54 car and help keep it up front in the Owner’s Championship battle.”
Adam Stevens, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
How are you preparing for Chicago with Joey Coulter in the seat this week? “Well we are coming in blind this weakened. We worked together at Talladega earlier, but that wasn’t a test of our communication or our ability to get the car suited to him. This weekend, will be, for sure. As far as I’m concerned this is his real Nationwide Series debut with JGR. Chicago is quite bumpy and fast. It’s unique in the fact that the back stretch has a little bend to it. It seems you are always turning. This makes it very hard to pass. We have extra practice time and tires this week so we will have a good opportunity to get the balance right, to suit his driving style. I am looking forward to working with Joey. He has been fast of late in his KBM truck, so I’m looking for a solid run inside the top-10 this weekend.”
-Kyle Busch Motorsports PR