The Frontstretch: 2012 NASCAR Driver Review: Joey Coulter by Toni Montgomery -- Friday January 11, 2013

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2012 NASCAR Driver Review: Joey Coulter

Toni Montgomery · Friday January 11, 2013

 

Joey Coulter

2012 Ride: No. 22 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
2012 Primary Sponsor: Darrell Gwynn Foundation/Steak-umm
2012 Owner: Richard Childress
2012 Crew Chief: Harold Holly

Stats: 22 races; 1 win, 8 top 5s, 15 top 10s, 1 DNF, 3rd in points.

Best Finish: 1st – Pocono.
Average Finish: 8.5.

2012 Team Ranking: 1st of 2 at Richard Childress Racing. Rookie Ty Dillon outpaced Coulter, virtually all year long in the standings but a late-race wreck at Homestead wiped out his edge. Coulter, after a late-season surge was able to pass on by and finish a career-high third in points.

High Point: Coulter scored his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory in August at the Pocono Mountains 125. After a late-race accident wiped out many of the top contenders, while placing a dominant Nelson Piquet, Jr. back in the pack that opened the door for Coulter in this track position race. Leading the final seven circuits, he posted an emotional win in the first Truck Series event since the triangular facility got a complete repaving job.

Low Point: Coulter got the low point of his year over with early. His only DNF and second lowest finish of the year in 18th came in the first race after a crash at Daytona and his worst finish of the season was a 30th at Martinsville, the second event. 24th in Truck Series points, after just two starts it took the rest of the season to climb out of the hole, leaving Coulter virtually out of title contention right away.

Summary: The 2011 Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year continued to learn and improve in 2012 in his second season at Richard Childress Racing. In addition to his first win and 15 top-10 finishes in the 22-race season, Coulter notched pole positions at Michigan, Kentucky, and Las Vegas. Ending the year with four third-place finishes, in the last six events it’s clear Coulter has this “consistency” thing down pat, too. His climb of 21 spots, from 24th after the second race of the season to third in the final standings was nothing short of impressive.

Off-Track News: In addition to racing, Joey Coulter attends classes at the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC) for Mechanical Engineering.

2013 Outlook: Coulter will run the full season for Kyle Busch Motorsports with sponsorship from Dollar General. Crew chief Harold Holly will come with him. Many will remember the Kansas incident in 2011 when some aggressive racing between the rookie and the veteran followed by contact from Busch after the race led to a fight between team owner Richard Childress and Busch. Turns out Coulter made an impression on Busch that day — just not the one most people thought. Busch was impressed by the young driver, so much so that he will make KBM’s first championship run in 2013.

2011 Frontstretch.com Grade: N/A.
2012 Grade: A. Coulter was the second truck on his team and while most of the attention was focused on Ty Dillon, he still went out and won a race, ran consistently, and ended up third at the end of the year, four spots higher than in 2011. No sophomore slump for this driver.

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