Rookie Joey Coulter Can Do at MIS; Quickest in ARCA RE/MAX Series Open Testing Wednesday BROOKLYN MI (5-27-09) - ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Joey Coulter is off to a great start at Michigan Int'l Speedway. The Miami Springs, Florida driver, who ...
Rookie Joey Coulter Can Do at MIS; Quickest in ARCA RE/MAX Series Open Testing Wednesday
BROOKLYN MI (5-27-09) - ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Joey Coulter is off to a great start at Michigan Int'l Speedway. The Miami Springs, Florida driver, who turned his first laps around the historic two-mile oval today, also posted the fasted speed in ARCA RE/MAX Series open testing Wednesday.
Coulter, in the no. 16 Chevrolet, circled the track in 39.116 seconds for an average speed of 184.068 mph.
"We made a lot of headway today," said the 18-year-old Coulter. "Absolutely love the track; it's awesome, although I'm still getting used to these big tracks. To me, it was easier to pick up on the short tracks, like Salem and Toledo - it was all I've ever done. I'm not used to places like this. You're going a lot faster, but everything inside seems slower. You don't dart off in the corners like you do on the short tracks, but we're learning."
Twenty-four drivers posted time and speed during the open test in preparation for the Racing For Wildlife 200 at Michigan Friday, June 12, the 28th appearance of the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Michigan since 1980.
Jesse Smith, in the no. 25 Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet, was second on the speed charts at 182.672 mph.
"Our test didn't start off very good, but we got a lot better," said the 19-year-old Wildwood, Missouri driver. "The front nose was really shoving at first, but we got that under control now. We always do good in the tests; I just need to come back and do that in the race." Current ARCA RE/MAX Series point leader Justin Lofton, in Eddie Sharp's no. 6 Toyota, was third quickest overall at 182.232 mph.
"We had a super tight push today," said Lofton, the defending race winner. "We got it a little better, but not where it needs to be. We're just going to leave it alone; we know what we have. When we come back, we'll adjust to it. Don't want to loosen it up too much and get that further behind. It's a new car, so we're still figuring things out. That, and I'm still learning my crew chief (Mark Rette), and Mark's still learning me."
Lofton also learned that the Michigan oval changes a lot according to weather.
"I learned that when the track gets rubbered-up, it slows down. After it rained, the track acted a lot different than it did before it rained."
Lofton, along with rookie Parker Kligerman, also joined the media for a question and answer session during the lunch hour. Lofton and Kligerman fielded questions from a half-dozen members of the media including the Detroit Free Presses Mike Brudenell.
Rookie Brian Ickler, making his first Michigan appearance, was fourth quickest on the charts overall in the no. 51 Toyota.
"The track definitely changes a lot with the weather," said Ickler, a four-time NASCAR Camping World East Series winner. "The track had a lot more grip this morning. I'm just getting used to how big this place is, all its different lines and finding the right rubber on the track. We were actually really loose this morning, and then went too far on adjustments and got too tight. We changed everything - wedge, sway bars, front and rear springs; we're learning."
Rookie Mikey Kile, in the Brad Keselowski Racing no. 29 Chevrolet, was fifth fastest at 181.164 mph.
Penske Racing development driver Parker Kligerman was sixth fastest in the no. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge.
"We've been hindered today by our fenders rubbing," said the 18-year-old Westport, Connecticut high school senior. "First it was both, now it's just the left-front (fender) rubbing. We know what to do to fix it, but we can't do it here. It'll have to be fixed back at the shop. Still, I've learned so much today; it's been a very productive test and definitely worth our while."
Kligerman, currently second in ARCA RE/MAX Series overall points, is the most recent winner on tour with his victory at Toledo Speedway back on May 17th. Kligerman is also currently leading the Rookie of the Year standings.
The test session was lengthened by one hour as a result of early morning showers that delayed the initial start until noon. There were no on-track incidents.