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Oct 22, 2013 - 05:44 PM
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2013 Martinsville II: Joey Coulter NASCAR Truck Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Oct 22, 2013 - 05:42 PM
2013 Martinsville II: Joey Coulter NASCAR Truck Race Preview

For the second time in 2013, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) will "Clock In" at Martinsville Speedway for the 30th Annual Kroger 250 on Saturday, October 26. It's been more than six months and 16 races since the series last visited the 0.526-mile oval and Joey Coulter, driver of the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra, will tell you that his junior year hasn't gone as planned. With several misfortunes keeping his No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports team from collecting a win this season, the team is hoping to "fall back" into place at Martinsville.


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Since 2003, the Truck Series has visited the Virginia short track twice a year and this year is no different. In fact, it's only one of three tracks on the 2013 schedule the series visits twice a year. Whether it's coincidence or not, Coulter a third year Truck Series veteran, has a promising record for the fall race at the paperclip-shaped oval. In five Truck Series starts - three in the spring and two in the fall, the 23-year-old's average finish in the spring race is 20.7 and his average finish in the fall is 4.0. In fact his track-best finish is third in the 2012 Kroger 250 (October). With a lot of ground to make up in the 2013 NCWTS driver point standings, Coulter is on the clock to finish out his season in victory lane.

Joey Coulter, Driver of the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra:
You have five previous starts at Martinsville Speedway in the Truck Series - three in the spring and two in the fall. Your average finish in the spring race is 20.7 and your average finish in the fall is 4.0. What is it about the "paperclip" that you seem to adapt to in the fall?
"I really think that it's just coincidence that the stats worked out like that. I think if there is any magic to it, we just seem to have more momentum at the end of the year than we do at the beginning. Temperatures are about the same during those times of the year, so I don't think that has much to do with it."

Martinsville Speedway is one of only three tracks the Truck Series visits twice in one year. Do you enjoy visiting this Virginia short track twice a year?
"I think that as long as the truck series is racing, they need to go to Martinsville twice. It is a really fun track to drive and it puts on a really good show for the fans, which there is always a lot of at Martinsville."

The 2014 NCWTS schedule is expected to be released soon. What changes from 2013 would you like to see?
"For next year I don't know that there is much I would do different. I really enjoyed going to the usual tracks, but also enjoyed all of the new ones. I think another dirt race, another road course, and maybe a couple new shorts tracks would be pretty cool. The trucks are fun to race at places like Texas and Charlotte, but I think the Truck Series could do a lot more for NASCAR as a whole if we raced at more short tracks."

Harold Holly, Crew chief of the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra:
What kind of changes can we expect with the track between the spring race at Martinsville and this weekend's Kroger 250 at the Virginia "paperclip"?
"With the new tire we had this year, we didn't seem to have a lot of problems. However, the problem that you typically have with Martinsville in the fall is when the temperatures are really cool the track doesn't take rubber and when that happens, you really wear the left rear tires out pretty bad. With the temperatures being as cool as they are supposed to be this weekend, we will really have to keep an eye on excessive tire wear. Whether it's the spring or the fall race, it's just a matter of how much the track temps come up and typically, any outside temperatures under 60 degrees, the racing surface itself won't take rubber."

How important is qualifying at Martinsville Speedway?
"Qualifying is important everywhere, but it's extremely important at Martinsville and it's mainly because pit road is so tight and it's hard to get on and off. In fact, the last seven winners have started in the top five. On the flip side, I've seen Denny Hamlin - who ran for KBM in 2011 - miss the driver's meeting, start dead last and win the race, so it can be done. However, you want a good start at Martinsville. From there it's just a game of survival. It's a lot easier to survive in the top five than it is from seventh on back."

Joey Coulter's No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra:
Chassis KBM006: KBM006 will make its 2013 debut in this weekend's Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway. This Tundra has made four previous starts and was last seen at the fall race at Martinsville in 2012. In its last on-track appearance, Brian Scott started third and was running in the top-five before a late-race restart forced him to lose valuable track position and the Idaho native crossed the line 10th. In four starts the chassis has one win (Kyle Busch, 2010), two top-five and four top-10 finishes.

Notes of Interest:

Joey Coulter - Martinsville Speedway:
• In five NCWTS starts, has compiled two top-five finishes
• Best Start: 12th (October, 2011)/Best Finish: Third (October, 2012)
• Average Start: 17.2/Average Finish: 14.01
• Completed 98.1% of laps attempted (1128 of 1150)

Joey Coulter 2013:
• Ranks 14th in the NCWTS driver point standings with 506 points; 47 markers behind 10th-place Brendan Gaughan, 86 points behind fifth-place Miguel Paludo and 174 markers behind series point leader Matt Crafton
• Recorded a season-best second-place finish at Kansas Speedway (4/20/13)
• Recorded a season-best fifth-place start in the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway (6/27/13)
• In 18 starts in 2013, Coulter has led 18 laps en route to three top-five and five top-10 finishes
• Has completed 93.3% of laps attempted (2563/2746) and has an average start of 13.8 and an average finish of 16.1
• Third full-time season in the NCWTS

Kyle Busch Motorsports' No. 18 Toyota Tundra:
• In seven starts at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway since 2010, has led 200 laps en route to one pole (Kyle Busch, 2010), one win (Denny Hamlin, 2011), six top-five and nine top-10 finishes
• Has registered an average finish of 5.9 at Martinsville Speedway in seven starts
• In 2013 has an average start of 13.8, an average finish of 16.1 and has led 18 laps en route to three top-five and five top-10 finishes
• Currently 16th in the 2013 NCWTS owner's point standings
• Finished fifth in the 2012 NCWTS owner's championship standings
• Over the final 18 races of the 2012 season, collected 683 owner's points, the most among Truck Series teams during that span
• Led the NCWTS with 17 top-10 finishes in 2012, including nine straight to end the season, while collecting seven top-five finishes and one win (Brian Scott 11/9/12 at Phoenix International Raceway)
• All seven drivers that made a start in 2012 posted a top-10 finish (Ku. Busch, Ky. Busch, Hamlin, Herring, Leffler, Mayhew and Scott) and six of the seven led at least one lap
• Since debuting in the Truck Series in 2010, has compiled 17 wins, 8 poles, 42 top-five and 61 top-10's across 87 starts
• Led the Truck Series in wins in each of its first two seasons: 2010 (8) and 2011 (8)
• In 2010, became first team since the NCWTS originated in 1995 to win the owner's championship in its inaugural season

Last NCWTS Event-fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola:
Joey Coulter started ninth and spent the first 25 laps inside the top 10 before being shuffled as far back as 33rd in the 26-truck field. However, it wasn't long before the Miami Springs, Fla. native found his KBM teammate, Parker Kligerman, and the duo danced their way to the front of the field, eventually leading a lap. Unfortunately, a late race accident on lap 81 of 94 led to one of the "Big Ones" and Coulter was relegated to a 27th-place finish in the 18th race on the 2013 NCWTS schedule.

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