[media-credit id=62 align=”alignright” width=”260″][/media-credit]While much of the attention was focused on what happened after the Truck race at Kansas Speedway, Joey Coulter was still riding on a self-proclaimed high of awesomeness after his career best finish.
The driver of the No. 22 Richard Childress Racing/Darrell Gwynn Foundation Chevrolet started eighth in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas this past weekend. Yet he was able to finish the race with the first top five of his rookie season.
“It was huge,” Coulter said of his run at Kansas. “We’ve had some good runs in the ARCA Series at a mile and a half but to run as good as we did at Kansas was awesome.”
Coulter contributes his great run to a combination of great pit strategy, keeping up with the race track and working with his RCR teammate Austin Dillon.
“Austin (Dillon) is a great teammate,” Coulter said. “His crew chief and my crew chief, me and Austin, we talk a lot.”
“We sit down all the time during practice and talk about what we are fighting,” Coulter continued. “Austin has brought me up to his level really quick.”
“He’s done a great job explaining to me the different ways to drive these trucks,” Coulter said. “I’ve watched a lot of video and I’ve talked to a lot of drivers and it’s just all that combined that contributed to our run at Kansas and we were just able to put it all together.”
“We both know that if he is faster than me, he’s the guy I can go to and find out why,” Coulter continued. “That’s going to bring me to his speed. Then once I get there, I might hit on something and end up a little bit faster than him.”
“He’s going to come to me and we’re going to tell him what we did and it’s just going to keep going back and forth until we’re both really, really fast,” Coulter said. “The great thing about a teammate is that open line of communication is there and you can always get the information you need.”
“It works and I love having a teammate,” Coulter said. “It’s my first time having one and I love it.”
Coulter also contributes his success to the equipment available to him at Richard Childress Racing. And finally Coulter gives all the due to his family, who has stood with him since he began his racing journey.
“RCR in my opinion is the best equipment in the Truck Series,” Coulter said. “The guys that build those trucks are the same guys that go to the race track and work on them at the track.”
“So, when they build something at the shop, they really put everything they’ve got into it,” Coulter continued. “Everybody puts so much pride into their work that when the race truck rolls into the trailer on the way to the race, it looks more like something that would roll through the block on Barrett Jackson.”
“These things come out looking great.”
“My family has been there since the beginning,” Coulter said. “Mom, dad and my girlfriend have been there since I was short track racing in Florida.”
“It’s really hard for them to miss a race, which is cool,” Coulter continued. “I love having them there.”
Coulter did take at least a little bit of time to celebrate his great finish. But that run actually made Coulter even more anxious to get to the next track.
“When I got back after the race, I hung out with my parents and soaked it all in,” Coulter said. “I kept watching the highlights on Speed Center and reading the articles on line, just soaking it all in.”
“We really enjoyed it, but at the same time it just made me a lot more excited to get to Texas,” Coulter said. “I just kept telling my crew chief, ‘Let’s go to Texas right now. I’m ready to go.’”
Coulter has actually been to Texas Motor Speedway before, running there last year in the ARCA Series.
“I love that race track,” Coulter said. “It is so much fun. It’s unreal how fast you can go through the corners with so much grip.”
“It’s wide open from what I’ve heard,” Coulter continued. “It’s going to be an experience to go around the track and never take your foot off the gas. I can’t wait to do that.”
Coulter admits that he expects more of the same at Texas as at Kansas in terms of the weather and the intense heat. He credits his growing up in Florida for his ability to handle the heat, that and a new tip that his teammate recently gave to him.
“I’m very glad that I was born in Florida, where there are two seasons, hot and very hot,” Coulter said. “It’s just something I’ve gotten used to over the years.”
“My teammate actually got me drinking Pedialyte this weekend and I felt way better before and after the race this time,” Coulter continued. “I’m working out every day like I have been for awhile and that helps with the heat too.”
Coulter will also be celebrating a personal milestone when he reaches Texas this week. He will turn 21 years old on Wednesday, June 8th.
“We are actually going to head to Texas a day early so I don’t have to be traveling on my birthday,” Coulter said. “I’m definitely not going to do anything crazy because we have to work this weekend.”
“I’ll probably go some place and see if they card me,” Coulter said with a chuckle. “I’m excited about it. It’s really kind of like the last real exciting age.”
For his birthday, Coulter may also indulge in one of his favorite confectionaries. In fact, he is nicknamed after one of them, “Cupcake”.
“Before the Darlington race, we did a media event, me and Johanna Long,” Coulter said. “We got to talk to a bunch of young kids about how important it is to stay in school.”
“There was this little hole in the wall, family cupcake place and somehow I got stuck carrying the box of cupcakes,” Coulter continued. “I guess that’s where I got the nickname of ‘cupcake’ from.”
From celebrating his birthday to his top-five finish, Coulter has just one word to sum up his life at present.
“Awesome,” Coulter said. “It’s a great feeling to be in the situation I am.”
“I’m extremely fortunate to have the opportunities I’ve had,” Coulter continued. “My dad has always been sure to tell me that there are plenty of unemployed race car drivers.”
“I’m grateful for this opportunity,” Coulter said. “RCR is an awesome organization and there are an awful lot of awesome people that have gotten me to where I am.”