Atlanta: Brad Coleman preview

Coleman looks to make strong track debut at AMS The first three races of the 2008 Nationwide Series season are in the books and to the surprise of almost nobody, those races were won by Cup superstars moonlighting in the series. Tony Stewart...

Coleman looks to make strong track debut at AMS

The first three races of the 2008 Nationwide Series season are in the books and to the surprise of almost nobody, those races were won by Cup superstars moonlighting in the series. Tony Stewart took the checkered flag at Daytona and California and Mark Martin won last week's race in Las Vegas.

In fact -- full-time Cup drivers have dominated the first three races this season.

5: Only five drivers who don't race full time in the Cup Series have top-10 finishes this season. Bryan Clauson finished sixth at Daytona; Stephen Leicht came home 10th at California and three drivers had top-10 finishes at Las Vegas: David Stremme (fifth), Mike Wallace (seventh) and Brad Coleman (ninth.)

Two of those drivers -- Bryan Clauson and Brad Coleman -- put up their top-10 runs in their first ever visit to the track. When the green flag flies at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon for the Nicorette 300 (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2), six more drivers will be looking to make a big impact in their first experience on the fast, 1.54-mile surface.

6: Number of drivers making their first laps in a national series race at Atlanta entered in this week's Nationwide Series event: Bryan Clauson, Brad Coleman, Cale Gale, D.J. Kennington, Brian Keselowski and Brett Rowe.

Of those six though, no one has impressed more in track debuts than Coleman. Brett Rowe and D.J. Kennington has yet to finish a race in the top 10, Brian Keselowski finished 10th in his Memphis debut last season, Clauson came home sixth in his first Daytona run this season and Gale posted a ninth-place finish in a Bristol Truck race in 2007.

But Coleman has stood out from the crowd when it comes to track debuts -- and most have been against fields filled with Cup stars.

Add to that a 15th at Michigan, 16th's at Texas and Phoenix and a 17th at Bristol, all in the Nationwide Series last season, and Coleman has proven his learning curve is an expeditious one.

"It's a challenge I've learned to handle well," Coleman said. "You just have to go out there, be smart and find your groove. After a couple laps, you start to get comfortable and realize how things are going to run.

"I have always had a unique ability to pick up any type of racetrack quickly. This will already be the second time this season I've dealt with it [19th at Fontana] and it won't be the last. I know I can handle it."

-credit: cr

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Tony Stewart , Mike Wallace , D.J. Kennington , Brad Coleman , David Stremme , Bryan Clauson , Cale Gale , Brett Rowe , Brian Keselowski , Mark Martin