Brad Coleman to Make NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Debut in No. 96 DLPÂ® HDTV Toyota Next Week at Michigan CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 6, 2008) -- Hall of Fame Racing officials announced Wednesday that NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brad Coleman, who has...
Brad Coleman to Make NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Debut in No. 96 DLP® HDTV Toyota Next Week at Michigan
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 6, 2008) -- Hall of Fame Racing officials announced Wednesday that NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brad Coleman, who has been under contract as a test driver for Hall of Fame Racing since November 2007, will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut by piloting the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry in the Aug. 17 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Coleman will replace J.J. Yeley who has been released by the team.
Road racing veteran P.J. Jones will drive the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota in the Sprint Cup race this weekend at the Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International road course.
"J.J. is a talented race car driver and a great person and this was a difficult decision to make," said Tom Garfinkel, co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing. "We all share responsibility that our performance hasn't been what it needs to be, but we concluded it was time to make a change. This is a performance-based industry and we need to perform better. We're confident J.J. will be successful in this sport in whatever his next challenge is."
The 20-year-old Coleman has 42 Nationwide Series starts, compiling three top-fives and five top-10 finishes in his first 15 races with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2007. In that same year he also won his first career Nationwide Series pole in April at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and scored his best Nationwide Series result in June when he finished second at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Coleman currently ranks 16th in the Nationwide Series championship point standings driving full-time for Nashville, Tenn.-based Baker Curb Racing.
"I really appreciate Jeff Moorad (co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing) and Tom for giving me this opportunity," said Coleman, a native of Houston who now resides in Charlotte. "I have really enjoyed my time testing with the people on the team and I'm looking forward to having a successful weekend at Michigan in the DLP HDTV Toyota and helping Hall of Fame Racing finish out the season as strong as possible. It is truly an honor to be a part of this organization."
In addition to his experience in the Nationwide Series, Coleman also has nine starts in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, with eight top-five finishes, three poles and a win at Kentucky Speedway, all of which came in 2006. While running in the Grand-Am Series in 2005, Coleman's cross-training approach to development provided him the opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. He finished fourth in the track championship at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C., while earning the most points of any rookie driver that season.
At age 16, Coleman teamed with fellow 16-year-olds Colin Braun and Adrian Carrio to form Team16, where they finished seventh in the GT class at the prestigious 24 Hours At Daytona on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn road course at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. In doing so, the trio set a Grand-Am record by becoming the youngest drivers ever to compete in the race.
Coleman's racing career began when he was 12 after being discovered at a Houston-area indoor karting center by Price Cobb, the veteran racer who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1990 with co-drivers John Nielson and Martin Brundle. While working as a crew member on Cobbs' Toyota Atlantic team, Coleman began his career in karting by competing in 64 races across the country. In his first and only year of karting, he won 42 percent of his races and finished on the podium at a rate of 65 percent. His success earned him an opportunity to become the youngest American driver to receive a professional open-wheel license at age 14 and advance to such open-wheel divisions as the Fran-Am 1600 Series and the Star Mazda Championship Series before turning his attention to stock cars in 2005.