By admin | July 30, 2013
By Richard Allen
What would cause a regular on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to venture deep into the mountains of upper east Tennessee during an off weekend? Joey Coulter did just that this past Saturday night when he competed in the Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals at the Tazewell Speedway in a dirt late model.
“Seat time,” Coulter says of his decision to spend his free time in a late model. “I started dirt racing last year for the first time and really fell in love with it, so we’re just stepping it up a lot this year. I think I ran 12 races last year and I think I’m already up to 20 this year. Just really having a good time. I really like this Ray Cook Southern Nationals Series so we’ve trying to hit as many of those as we can.”
The Southern Nationals is a mini-series contested each summer with ten races held over the course of 12 days all across the southeast. Coulter competed in a total of four of those events.
“I’m definitely taking it seriously,” Coulter says of his dirt racing. “I’m trying to get to where I could eventually start winning some of these things and just gaining more experience. My whole thing going through my whole career has been about getting more seat time in unique situations. From growing up racing on nothing but pavement, this is about as unique as it’s going to get.”
The Tazewell Speedway is a one-third mile track banked at almost 40 degrees in the turns. Coulter’s dirt late model crew chief prepared his driver for the track he had never seen before by telling him it would make the Bristol Motor Speedway look flat and big.
Recently, Coulter had the opportunity to put his new found dirt racing experience to the test when the Camping World Truck Series raced on Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio where he finished 4th.
“That was awesome,” the Miami native said of racing his Kyle Busch Motorsports truck on dirt. “Hats off to Tony Stewart and everybody for putting that deal together. That was so much fun. I’ve never had that much fun in a stock car.”
Even though Coulter may consider his dirt racing to be fun, his primary job is to compete in NASCAR. So how does this unique form of racing help him to succeed in his truck?
“It’s just seat time in general,” the winner of last year’s truck event at the Pocono Raceway says. “The super late models are a lot of horsepower, really light weight cars on small race tracks. It’s really helping my car control, which is good in the truck if my truck’s not handling quite the way I need it to. Especially if we’re loose, I feel like I’ve got a couple of extra feet that I can go save it that somebody else might not.
“On the flip side,” Coulter continued. “The truck is kind of low horsepower and real heavy, which is good when I go race these things with the crate motor. They both kind of help each other out, but it’s definitely two different worlds.”
Click here to listen to the entire interview with Joey Coulter as well as see pictures of him, his car and the Tazewell Speedway.
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