Brad Coleman Back Home at Gibbs; Christmas comes early for accomplished 20 year-old driver Charlotte, NC (December 19, 2008) -- Joe Gibbs Racing announced today they have signed promising young NASCAR driver Brad Coleman back into their family...
Brad Coleman Back Home at Gibbs; Christmas comes early for accomplished 20 year-old driver
Charlotte, NC (December 19, 2008) -- Joe Gibbs Racing announced today they have signed promising young NASCAR driver Brad Coleman back into their family fold effective immediately. Coleman will be running a partial NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule alongside Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin in the No. 20 car in 2009.
"Brad showed us a lot of natural talent when we launched his Nationwide career here in 2007 and has matured a great deal by going through some tough challenges since then," said J.D. Gibbs. "He is an impressive young man with a bright future ahead of him and our entire organization is happy to have him back on the team."
Coleman reluctantly left Gibbs after a successful 2007 season where in only 17 races he posted three Top 5's, five Top 10's, seven Top 15's, and nine Top 20's, won the Pole at Talladega and earned the highest finishing average of any non-Cup experienced driver in the series. Extraordinary statistics considering he was the youngest driver in the series, seeing many of the race tracks for the very first time, and competing against a host of Sprint Cup drivers.
"I never would have left Gibbs in the first place, but the team just didn't have the sponsorship available to put me in a full-time Nationwide ride in 2008 and we felt like I needed the seat time," stated Coleman.
With no sponsorship in hand at JGR, Coleman signed two opportunities immediately to secure his 2008 program. First, he accepted the opportunity to drive the No. 27 Kleenex Racing® car for the newly established Baker Curb Racing team and the same week, signed an agreement to test and race a second Sprint Cup car for Hall of Fame Racing, a Gibbs satellite team.
In the 2008 season, Coleman ranked in the Top 15 in the Nationwide Series championship point standings prior to leaving Baker Curb Racing, with his final race for the team producing a Top 10 finish at Watkins Glen in August. His time at Hall of Fame was spent testing Cup cars throughout the year and taking the opportunity to run his first Sprint Cup race at Michigan where he finished 38th without incident.
"I am grateful for both of the opportunities I had this year and appreciative to the owners and sponsors of each team," said Coleman. "But I can tell you I have never been so happy in my life as when I got the call from Gibbs to come back. This is not only a world-class race team with great equipment, but it is the finest group of people I have ever worked with."
With 42 Nationwide Series races, one Sprint Cup start, and significant Cup testing under his belt, Coleman is focused on doing whatever he can to help the team in 2009 while grooming himself for his career at the top level of the sport.
"I feel like I got two years of experience all rolled into one in 2008," Coleman said. "Not only racing experience at the top two levels of the sport, but life experiences as well. I can promise you this, you will be hard pressed to find a harder working, more focused driver in the garage next year. I am incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to be coming home for Christmas."
Questions & Answers with Brad Coleman:
How does it feel to be back at JGR? Like Christmas has come a few days early. I will be committed to helping the organization any way I can and ultimately maximizing my opportunity to win races for them. They have built an organization on the same principals and beliefs that I live my life and I could not be any happier than to be back with this group of men and women.
Will it be hard not being in the car at every race? All drivers want to be in the car each weekend. The realities of the economy and the sport only allow so many opportunities and I am thankful for what I will be doing. Just as in 2007 when I was sitting on the box watching the car go around without me in it half the time, I know I am paying my dues and learning from each and every experience on and off the track.
Who will sponsor the car when you are driving? I don't know at this time, but from what I understand, we will be making an announcement early in 2009.
What will you do in the off season? I will continue my intense workout schedule and be ready to drive anything the team gives me the opportunity to drive. I will also spend a lot of time in the shop with all of the different experts and great drivers they have at JGR trying to learn more about what they are doing and how I can integrate into the process. Like all drivers, I want to be the best I can be personally but it is equally important to me to become a vital team player as well.