Joey Coulter Gets First Truck Series Win at Pocono
Posted by: David Starr, Follow @DavidLStarr
August 4, 2012
Joey Coulter capitalized on a late race restart to win Saturday’s Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway. Coulter had run a solid race the entire day but had never challenged for the lead until the final restart.
Coulter was fourth when the race restarted with just 7 laps to go. Nelson Pique Jr., who had the dominant truck the entire race, restarted in front of Coulter but the Richard Childress Racing driver made an aggressive move on the inside to take it three wide entering Turn 1. Coulter exited the turn with the lead and pulled away over the final six laps.
“The whole time I’ve been racing stock cars, I’ve struggled with restarts, so I’ve worked on that more than anything,” Coulter said.
Coulter became the fourth driver to become a first-time Camping World Truck Series winner this season and is the ninth different winner in 11 races so far this season. The win was also the first since 2004 for Coulter’s veteran crew chief Harold Holly.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been to victory lane,” Holly said. “I’m just tickled to death for Joey Coulter.”
Piquet started from the pole with Ty Dillon on the outside front row. Dillon scraped the wall on lap one and it took him most of the race to recover. Dillon’s mistake allowed Piquet’s teammate James Buescher to move into second place.
Piquet made it clear early on he had the truck to beat as he extended his lead by over three seconds on just lap seven. The opening half of the race was calm with teams beginning their green flag pit stops on lap 22. Tim George Jr. brought out the first caution on lap 29. The saying “cautions breed cautions” definitely rang true on this day.
On lap 35 Todd Bodine made contact with Pique sending Bodine’s No. 11 into the wall hard. Bodine was infuriated with Pique and threw his helmet as Pique drove by. Replays showed it was Bodine who came down on Pique Jr. but the veteran driver blamed Pique for the wreck in an interview with SPEED TV.
The final caution of the race came out just a lap after the restart due to two simultaneous incidents. Timothy Peters was racing with Matt Crafton when his No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota got loose. Peters slid up into Miguel Paludo. Paludo was able to continue but Peters was forced to take his truck behind the wall to fix his radiator. Just behind the Peters incident Paulie Harraka entered the corner too low and slid up into Ron Hornaday. Hornaday was able to continue but Harraka was forced to take his truck to the garage.
Coulter pulled away after the restart to win with James Buescher finishing second. Buescher thought he had a chance to win.
“I thought we were going to have a shot today, but the No. 22 took it three-wide,” Buescher said.
Piquet dropped to fifth after the restart but was able to drive back up to third by the time the checkered flag waved. Matt Crafton finished fourth and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five in what was a disappointing finish given his expectations.
Dillon rallied to finish sixth and pulled within eight points of Peters who finished 22nd.