For the third year, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Joey Coulter had his name attached to the running of the Charity Trucker’s 100 race. However, this year was different as he actually raced in the event and, he not only ran in the race at Auburndale Speedway, but won it too! An outstanding field of 26 trucks assembled on Friday for preliminary practice and qualifying. When all was said and done, young Dylan Martin of Lakeland had set quick time at 14.600 seconds to earn the $100 fast qualifier award
from Southern Air Compressor Service, Inc. On Saturday, Martin pulled the eight pill, inverting the top eight qualifiers for the start of the 100-lap affair. More importantly, Martin presented event organizer Rick Bristol and Coulter with a check for $3331.67 that he alone had raised for the families being supported by this years race.
With a large crowd watching, it was Michael Pilla taking the early lead from his pole starting spot as outside pole-sitter Jessica Murphy got hung out on the top lane while Coulter, Brian Harbin, Steve Darvalics and Mica Williams moved up.
There were a total of three caution flags in the first three laps as there was plenty of bumping and banging going on throughout the field on the tight quarter-mile Auburndale track. Two of the first three yellows were for Doc McKinney who initially had the nose of his Whitney Poole Motorsports Chevy knocked off on the opening lap then had the hood blow off during lap three. Sandwiched between the two slowdowns for McKinney was a spin in turn one by Becca Monopoli. The lady driver from Lakeland went to the rear of the field for the restart but would make her presence felt later. During a brief green flag period, Coulter got enough momentum to scoot by Pilla for the lead as things continued to be very choppy with caution flag after caution flag being needed, all for minor spins or trucks slowing on track unable to get to the safety of the infield. Darvilacs took second from Pilla around lap 11 but that pass was negated by another yellow flag. Then, on lap 14, Pilla got a good run on Coulter to re-claim the lead only to see – guess what – another caution flag allowing Coulter to retain the top spot. By the completion of lap 20, there had already been 12 caution flags thrown and race officials decided to start counting caution laps for two reasons. First, the race had a 90 minute time limit so the complete event could be broadcast on 740 AM/The Game out of Orlando and there had only been 20 laps completed in a 45 minute time span. Secondly, crews were beginning to worry their machines wouldn’t have enough gas to complete the distance. Among the bevy of early cautions was one for three-time Charity Truck winner
Darvilacs who was hoping to finish the night batting an even .500 for the eight charity events. His night ended prematurely though when the rear end broke on his truck on lap 19. Once the drivers were told caution laps would count, they actually ran seven green flag laps before McKinney got spun out yet again on lap 27. Jessica Murphy, who had settled into fifth spot, saw her night come to an abrupt end when her engine seized going into turn one with a loud bang. Murphy guided her truck up towards the wall and out of harm’s way but brought out yet another yellow flag on lap 32. Only more caution would be needed before the halfway mark as McKinney and Cole Partelo got tangled up in turn two. At lap 50 Coulter continued to lead but was now feeling pressure from his girlfriend, Jessica Green, herself a two-time winner on the local FUPS Truck
circuit in 2013. Green seemed to have a faster truck but Coulter’s Duke Masonry Special was handling well on the low side. Behind Coulter and Green at halfway were Pilla, Dylan Martin, Harbin, Williams, Monopoli, Bruce Bennett, Rodney Haddock and Sam Scott, now up to tenth after starting dead last in 26th.
The field continued to get in some green flag laps until Jeff Dulaney spun on lap 63. Three laps later, Green slowed abruptly coming off turn two as her engine shut off. The drivers just behind her managed to avoid a major melee as Green dejectedly took her truck to the infield. Coulter now had the truck to beat as he had really gotten dialed in and pulled away from Pilla on the restart while Martin began to make waves eventually taking second from Pilla on lap 73. A final caution on lap 84 for Scott’s blown engine gave Martin a shot at Coulter, but the NASCAR star simply made it look easy over the final laps to win going away. Martin claimed second ahead of Pilla and Harbin (who drove an excellent, steady race) while Monopoli drove skillfully back up to fifth spot after her early spin. Willams, Bennett, James Glover, Dustin Chisholm and Rodney Haddock rounded out the top ten.
Kim Scheffler, driving in the race for the first time since the first charity event back in 2006, came home 11th after having to re-build the engine in her truck on Friday and just making it to the track in time to qualify. Her efforts earned Scheffler the $100 Hard Charger award put up by Southern Air Compressor Service, Inc. Southern Air Compressor also sponsored several other awards worth $100 each that went to the follwing drivers: Mike Powers (Hard Luck), Becca Monopoli (Cool Move of the Race) and Joey Coulter for leading at half way and setting the fastest lap of the race. The “Calculated Move of the race” award from Dennis & Dennis, Inc. worth $100
went to Jessica Murphy while $300 gift certificates from Lightning Light Bodies went to Ricky Bullard, Jr. (pre-race drawing), Cole Partelo (13th Place Award) and Doc McKinney who won the “Most Missing Pieces” award. Title sponsors for this years event were Aaron’s, Blackwater Irrigation and Florida Suncoast Unclaimed Freight Sales. Presenting sponsors were Fellows Truck Brokers, and the Les & Judy Smout Foundation while Associate sponsors were Orlando Dodge/Chyrsler/Jeep, Coulter Motorsports, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Curry’s Roofing and Webb’s Commercial Services. Tempest Cycles were also on hand to raffle off a motorcycle valued at $4500.
Around $1700 was raised with Mike Mohr the lucky winner of the bike. As of this writing, nearly $31,000 has been raised to benefit the three families being helped this year. That is nearly $4,000 more than the previous record of $27,000 set last year. “Wow, over $30,000, that is so incredible” said race winner Joey Coulter. “Thanks to all the drivers, crews, volunteers and the fans that came and supported myself, Rick Bristol and this great cause. It was so cool to win the race and share it with the fans. I am
excited to sit down and work with Rick and plan next years event and see if we can do even more to help these families as they face their battle for life. I hope everyone has a great Christmas and I wish all a Happy New Year” added Coulter. Coulter and his Duke Racing Team donated all their winnings back to the families. Added race organizer Rick Bristol, “I am always amazed at the support and the growth this event gains each year. Joey has been a big part of that, but also just the people who get to see what it is about and they catch our vision and return. It was a great night and I want to thank all the drivers, crews, fans and volunteers that make this possible. And thanks to Rex Guy and Auburndale Speedway for their hospitality. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”
In other racing action on Saturday, Brandon Morris held off a determined challenge from Daniel Webster to win the Sportsman feature while Mike Montano made a surprising late-race move to capture the Southeast Champ Kart Series race. The night was capped off by a wild yet highly entertaining and controversial Bomber feature race won by veteran George Gorham, Jr.
CHARITY TRUCKERS 100 – AUBURNDALE SPEEDWAY – 12/14/13 – 100 LAPS:
1) Joey Coulter, Charlotte NC
2) Dylan Martin,Lakeland, FL
3) Michael Pilla, Midland, NC
4) Brian Harbin, Bartow, FL
5) Becca Monopoli, Lakeland, FL
6) Mica Williams, Lakeland, FL
7) Bruce Bennett, Orlando, FL
8) James Glover, Pinellas Park, FL
9) Dustin Chisholm, Seminole, FL
10) Rodney Haddock, Hilliard, FL
11) Kim Scheffler, Auburndale, FL
12) Zach Curtis, Palm Bay, FL
13) Cole Partelo, St. Petersburg, FL
14) Ricky Bullard, Jr., Arcadia, FL
15) Sam Scott, Naples, FL
16) Tim Viens, Port Orange, FL
17) Jessica Green, Charlotte, NC
18) Jeff Dulaney, Naples, FL
19) Mason Love, Pinellas, Park, FL
20) Jeremy Daring, Alva, FL
21) Doc McKinney, Ft. Pierce, FL
22) Jessica Murphy, Groveland, FL
23) Steve Darvalics, Venice, FL
24) Mike Powers, Pembroke Pines, FL
25) Phil Ellis, Arcadia, FL
26) Nick Malverty, Spring Hill, FL