Coulter Graduates With Honors from Inaugural Gateway Dirt Nationals12/20/2016
December 19, 2016 (Troutman, NC)- There was one thing that Joey Coulter knew for sure when he first walked into The Dome at the Americas Center, in St. Louis Missouri. Saturday, December 17th, he would graduate from UNC Charlotte, regardless of his performance at the Gateway Dirt Nationals. With so many unknowns centered around the race, the certainty of becoming and alumni was a huge relief.
Coulter was one of the drivers fortunate enough to get an early draw for the 1st round of qualifying. Neither division was allowed any hot-laps, Coulter knew that these 3 laps were going to set the tone for the whole weekend. After the first round of qualifying, it was clear the Coulter, driving the No. 49ers for Rum Runner Racing was going to be a threat. Out of the 97 car field, CIV was 9th overall. That time held through the 2nd round as the track slowed down tremendously.
With a great qualifying time on Thursday, CIV started outside pole in his 8 lap heat. After finishing 2nd and going on to win his B-main, he was set to start 9th in the 25 lap feature. When the green dropped on the 1st A-main of the weekend, Coulter found himself in the most close quarters racing he had ever been in. As the laps wound down, CIV raced in and out of the top 10 until coming home 13th.
The final day of racing was set by Friday nights results. This set CIV to start 3rd in the first B-main of the night. Once again, Coulter raced his way into the A-main with a 4th place finish. This made Coulter one of only 17 cars that made both A-main races. Quite an accomplishment with the amount of competition in the building.
If finally came down to the last A-main. 40 laps and $20,000 to the winner. Coulter immediately made a charge forward when the race went green, again showing his ability to run against some of the best late model drivers in the country. Multiple cautions at the beginning of the race made it hard for CIV to advance through traffic, as well as a few questionable scoring calls by race control. Most of the wrecks occurred just in front of Coulter. Each one prompted an impressive display of awareness, as CIV avoided all the mishaps. The race finally came to an end with Coulter on the outside of a 4-wide dash to the line, finishing 12th on the lead lap.
“What an experience that was. It was just a great weekend overall. Finally graduating from UNC Charlotte was enough to make the weekend great. Being able to race in such a special event with the Charlotte 49ers on the car made it that much better. Everyone did a great job preparing the car and making the changes we needed. The key to this race was adaptability, and our team nailed it. The early draw helped us a lot and we capitalized on it in that first round of qualifying. From there on out it was all about maintaining our speed and keeping the car in one piece. I really want to thank the Charlotte 49ers, Molecule, Simpson Race Products, and Broward Armature & Generator for making this race possible for us.”