Clutch Performance Lands Brad Coleman Top 5; Joe Gibbs Racing team overcomes lost clutch to post top finish at Gateway Charlotte, NC (July 19, 2009) - Brad Coleman and the No. 20 Rudys.com Toyota team overcame a lost clutch Saturday night at ...
Clutch Performance Lands Brad Coleman Top 5; Joe Gibbs Racing team overcomes lost clutch to post top finish at Gateway
Charlotte, NC (July 19, 2009) - Brad Coleman and the No. 20 Rudys.com Toyota team overcame a lost clutch Saturday night at Gateway International Raceway to earn a Top 5 finish in the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 ultimately won by Joe GIbbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch.
Both team members drew early qualifying spots on a track that would prove to produce faster times later in the draw. After starting 15th, Coleman had worked his way into the Top 10 when he radioed to his crew that the clutch had began to fade after the first pit stop. On lap 96, the bearing seal failed and Coleman reported the clutch had retired for the night at the half-way point of the race.
"We continued to make the right moves on our way to the front, but the loss of the clutch meant we would have to shut off the car during pit stops and my crew would have to push me back out, costing us critical seconds," said Coleman. "My team did an amazing job of producing lightening fast pit stops and then pushing like crazy to get me out of the pits as quickly as humanly possible. As good as they were, I am thinking about asking Dave Rogers (Crew Chief) about leaving the clutch out from now on. These guys were amazing."
Nearing the end of the race Coleman entered the final pit stop on lap 178 in sixth position and came out in seventh, impressive considering the car had to be push-started. He then drove the car from seventh to fifth position when the checkered flag flew.
"Overcoming the adversity together and bringing in a top finish goes a long way to building the teamwork and momentum that is necessary to produce top results," stated Coleman. "Everyone knows I am only in the car for eight races and the pressure to perform is huge, but tonight we managed that pressure and used it to our advantage to produce a solid result. As we continue to build this momentum we will only get better."
Crew Chief Dave Rogers said he was very impressed with the young drivers performance under pressure.
"I thought Brad did an excellent job of handling adversity tonight. I'm also extremely pleased with how well he closed the race. He could have easily settled for a solid Top 10 finish, but instead, he willed his way into the Top 5. I'm very proud of his performance. This was a very competitive race and our team pulled together to produce a good result. It's not easy to jump in the car after three weeks off and gel with a team you haven't worked with very much. This was a big step for us in building momentum for the rest of Brad's schedule and I am proud of our driver and our team."
Coleman will be in his first consecutive race next weekend at ORP in Indianapolis.