MOORESVILLE, N.C. (September 10, 2013) - Friday the 13th has foreboding reputations dating back from ancient times. There are two such occurrences in 2013 and Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. is one of them. The second infamous "Friday the 13th" is in December and the two such occurrences happen to be 13 weeks apart. Why is Friday the 13th considered one of the unluckiest days on the calendar? Well, the superstition does have deep, compelling roots in Western Culture, but stems from two separate fears - the fear of the number 13 and the fear of Friday's.
Racing superstitions are nearly as old as the sport itself and although they are not as prevalent today, there are still certain fixtures drivers and crew members shy away from. Peanuts, $50 bills and even the color green are primarily superstitions that many drivers have steered clear of over the years. Although Joey Coulter, driver of the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports, doesn't have any superstitions he does believe that he could use all the "luck" he can get in the final seven races of the year starting with this weekend's NCWTS EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Coulter would like nothing more than to turn his luck around this weekend in Chicago by turning the fifth day of the week and the number 13 into a lucky No. 18 after 150-laps on the 1.5-mile oval in the "Windy City."
Joey Coulter, Driver of the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra:
In two starts at Chicagoland Speedway, you have never had a top-10 finish. What is it that you like or dislike about the track and do you think you can break in to the top-10 this weekend? "I like Chicago a lot - it's a fun race track - I just haven't had the luck there that we have needed. We led a bunch of laps there last year and got in a late-race wreck which took us out of contention for a good finish. The year before was the same thing - we ran really well and something out of our control took us out. So, just not a lot of luck there, but I do really enjoy the race track. The track surface has a few years on it, but it's still fairly new, and still has pretty good grip - it's been a lot of fun to race on in the past and I'm looking forward to getting back on track this weekend."
The NCWTS race at Chicagoland Speedway is considered a one day show with practice, qualifying, and the race all in one day. Do you enjoy this type of schedule?
"There are up's and down's. I like it because you are in and out. You don't have a lot of time to second guess yourself or over-think a change - you go through the day really quick. But, the downside is you go through the day really quick. If you don't unload really close, it's hard to make up for that time because you have a short practice, straight into qualifying and then the race."
The EnjoyIllinois.com 225 is on Friday the 13th. Are you superstitious?
"It's bad luck to be superstitious, so no. We will see what happens this weekend though. The way this year has gone, it will probably work better for us if I put a black cat in the truck with me and drove under a ladder at some point - just to get the bad luck out of the way. We just may need to embrace the 'bad luck' and see if things turn around for us.
Harold Holly, Crew chief of the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra:
Both Truck Series practices at Chicago are during the day when the temperatures are hotter, but the race is at night when the temps are in the 40's. How do you transition the truck for these conditions and what kind of racing can we expect to see in Chicago this weekend? "Well, our first practice is in the morning and our second practice is in the early afternoon, so the temps should be comparable to the start of the race on Friday night - especially since both the Nationwide and Cup cars will be on the track all day - it will keep the tracks temps up. Chicagoland (Speedway) is a fast mile-and-half track, but the surface, banking and transitions give it character. It can be bumpy down low and has multiple grooves, so some guys will try to driver around the bumps. The backstretch is slightly curved which changes the exit of Turn 2 and the entry of Turn 3 compared to other intermediates we go to. With it being so cold there Friday night, the track will be fast and make for some good racing."
Joey Coulter's No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra:
Chassis KBM17: The No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports team will unload chassis KBM17 for the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday. Built new for the 2013 season, this chassis was last seen at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (June). Starting 11th, Coulter ran solidly inside the top-10 before a flat left rear tire blew just 54 laps into 167-lap event relegating Coulter to a 25th-place finish.
Kyle Busch Motorsports