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Comments Off on Joey Coulter and Monster Energy Team 14th at Chicagoland Speedway Maintain Lead in Series Owner’s Points Championship with Over Half the Schedule Completed

Joey Coulter and Monster Energy Team 14th at Chicagoland Speedway Maintain Lead in Series Owner’s Points Championship with Over Half the Schedule Completed

Date: July 21, 2013
Event: STP 300 (Race 18 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Nationwide Series
Location: Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 15th/14th (Completed 200 of 200 laps)
Winner: Joey Logano of Penske Racing (Ford)
Joey CoulterIn his second attempt this year with the No. 54 Monster Energy team, Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Joey Coulter and the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) NASCAR Nationwide Series Camry maintained their Owner’s Point lead with a 14th-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet on Sunday. For NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular, Coulter, it was his fourth start in the Nationwide Series and the second of three times he’ll take over the seat of the black and green machine this year. His final start with the JGR group will come later this summer at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta for the second 2013 Nationwide Series event.

 

Hot summer heat baked the garage area through the weekend in Illinois, but race teams are used to it, now entering the third quarter of NASCAR’s 33-week schedule. On Saturday, NASCAR conducted two lengthy practice sessions to offer race teams ample time to set their cars up for the 1.5-mile oval, 50 miles south of the “Windy City.” Reunited to race together for only the second time this year, Coulter and JGR crew chief Adam Stevens spent full sessions working on the balance of the race car, in order to produce more speed.

Qualifying laps were completed race-day morning, when Coulter registered the No. 54 Camry 15th-quick on the board, with a 176.114mph lap, which placed him in row eight of the full field. Upon drop of the green flag, Coulter’s 15th-place starting spot was immediately challenged when an early caution period waved for an initial accident. When the field went back to green, on lap nine, the young driver maneuvered traffic and settled into the 16th position.

By lap 23 the matte black machine and Coulter were steadily advancing towards the front of the field, reaching 13th by lap 25. “Good job man, just keep chipping away at it,” described Stevens to Coulter in only his fourth Nationwide Series career start. He continued, “You are catching the next five or six.” Coulter confirmed back that his Toyota Camry was a little ‘snug’, something they would address with changes, on the first pit road visit.

Under the second event-caution period, the JGR team pitted for Sunoco fuel and new Goodyear tires with small air pressure adjustments, which they felt would allow them to stay ‘ahead’ of any balance changes the car might experience throughout the race. It was during this timeframe when Coulter would reach his highest running position in the race, set in 10th-place on the green-flag restart at lap 53 of the scheduled 200-lap race.

The car didn’t immediately ‘come back’ to Coulter as quickly as he would have liked after his pit road changes. Spotter Tony Hirschman and crew chief Stevens pumped up their driver over the radio, and pointed out the No. 54 was racing lap times as good as the race leader. At lap 85, Coulter reported into the team that the car’s balance was finally coming back to him and he was more comfortable driving through the turns.

On lap 104, past the event’s halfway mark and under green-flag conditions, the Monster Energy team visited pit road to make car adjustments that would ‘free up’ the handling for Coulter. The team saw an immediate improvement and Coulter gained two spots to 14th while he posted lap times competitive with the leaders.
Joey CoulterWhile the team hoped Coulter could break into the top-10 in the second half of the race, their plans did not yield the results they were looking for. Two additional pit-road visits would offer Stevens and his No. 54 crew time to make further adjustments to the black Monster Energy Camry, however, attempting to gain track position would prove difficult for the Nationwide Series rookie. Restarts proved to be a challenge for Coulter to maintain his position, although, the eager Monster Energy athlete wheeled his machine hard and maintained a top-15 finish, bringing the Camry home in 14th place at the conclusion of the race.

Coulter expressed post-race, “It wasn’t a bad day for the No. 54 Camry. It definitely was a huge learning experience for me. I learned a lot. I wish I could have held track position better. We had a super-fast car today I just didn’t capitalize on the track position. I’ll have to go back and watch the tape to see where I can improve for Kentucky. I really appreciate the opportunity that Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports offered me and thank them for the support.”

The No. 54 Monster Energy team owned by J.D. Gibbs maintains first place in the Owner’s Point standings, now 34 points ahead of the No. 22, owned by Roger Penske.
Joey Logano won the race, his 20th Nationwide Series victory in 118 starts. Sam Hornish Jr., Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers filled out the top-five finishing positions. There were six caution periods for 32 laps of the race along with 12 lead changes across five drivers.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series competes again on July27 at Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway in the Indiana 250 on Saturday, with television broadcast starting at 4 p.m. EST on ESPN. Kyle Busch will make his 15th start behind the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Monster Energy Camry.
About Monster Beverage Company:
Based in Corona, California, Monster Energy refuses to acknowledge the traditional and the disingenuous. Monster always supports the scene and the sport. Whether it be motocross, off-road, NASCAR, MotoGP, BMX, surf, snowboard, ski, skateboard, or the rock and roll lifestyle, Monster is a brand that believes in authenticity and the core of what its sports, athletes and musicians symbolize. Much more than a drink, it’s a way of life lived by our athletes, sports, bands, believers and fans. See more about Monster Beverage Company – including all of its drinks – at www.monsterenergy.com and Facebook.com/MonsterEnergy.

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