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Coulter ready for chance of a lifetime in Truck Series

February 04, 2011, Mark Aumann, NASCAR.com

Set for first season in Truck Series after surprising offer from Childress

Sometimes you don't know when the opportunity will present itself. Joey Coulter is a perfect example.

In his second ARCA Series season, Coulter finished eighth in the points, courtesy of one victory and six top-five finishes. But when that season ended last fall, he never expected to get a phone call out of the blue from Richard Childress, asking if he'd like to race in the Camping World Truck Series in 2011.

"For me, it's like a dream come true. ... It's a wonderful opportunity."

--JOEY COULTER

"Two or three days after Rockingham, I get a phone call and my dad says, 'You're going to RCR on Tuesday morning,' Coulter said. "I'm like, 'Ha, you're real funny, Dad.'

"It just all fell together so fast. It was unbelievable. For me, it's like a dream come true. Best Christmas present I've ever gotten. It's a wonderful opportunity."

Like many drivers in the sport, the Miami Springs, Fla., native began racing go-karts at an early age. He amassed more than 50 victories and several state championships before graduating to a regional Truck Series in 2005. After a couple of seasons in Pro Cup and Late Models, he stepped up to ARCA full-time in 2009.

But getting a chance to be Austin Dillon's teammate had Coulter grinning from ear-to-ear during last week's media tour stop at the RCR shop. Coulter said he's had an opportunity to climb behind the wheel, and the experience was a thrill.

"We've gotten to test twice," Coulter said. "We went down to Disney World Speedway in Orlando and tested for a good, solid day and a half. Then just last week, I was in Gresham for a day, doing a short-track test.

"Man, what a piece of equipment. It's unbelievable the caliber of equipment that comes out of these shops. Compared to an ARCA car, they're different but they weren't as different as I thought they were going to be. I really expected it to be something I hadn't ever really felt before but it was pretty close."

Coulter said the biggest difference is the way the trucks corner.

"You could tell the trucks don't make as much power but they really turn in the corner," Coulter said. "A lot of air on the side of them that really helps you through the corner. It really just lets you drive them two or three times as hard as an ARCA car, and it makes them a blast to race. Now I understand why they're so much fun to watch."

Dillon was also on hand for the Disney World test, and Coulter said he had the opportunity to ask questions of his new teammate.

"Yeah, he gave me lots of advice," Coulter said. "It helped out a ton. After talking and testing it at Disney World for that day and a half, we kind of figured out that our driving styles are pretty close. We're able to share information and our crew chiefs can communicate real well, so we're really going to be able to learn a lot off each other.

"They learned a lot already off our short-track test. They weren't able to make it down there, but they were able to learn off the notes we brought back. Being able to use all their notes from last year should be able to give us a baseline for the places I've never been before."

Dillon spun and crashed on the first lap of his Daytona debut last season. Coulter's raced there in ARCA, finishing 26th last February, but drafting in a truck compared to a car is somewhat an unknown.

"From what Austin's told me, they just move around a little bit more," Coulter said. "He said, 'Don't expect a whole lot different,' and I'm looking forward to finding out how different they are once we get there."

For Coulter, nothing on the track could be as surprising as when the phone rang back in November, and it was Richard Childress on the line.

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