Coleman to Drive Last NBS Race for Gibbs; Teenager to Wrap-Up Successful Year at Phoenix Charlotte, NC (November 6, 2007) -- The familiar black No. 18 Carino's Italian Grill Chevrolet will take to the track for the final time this season as...
Coleman to Drive Last NBS Race for Gibbs; Teenager to Wrap-Up Successful Year at Phoenix
Charlotte, NC (November 6, 2007) -- The familiar black No. 18 Carino's Italian Grill Chevrolet will take to the track for the final time this season as rookie NASCAR Busch Series driver Brad Coleman completes his 17 race schedule with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Arizona Travel 200 this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.
Reflecting on the year, Coleman said he could not have had a better opportunity.
"When you put a great sponsor partner together with a great race team you get great results," stated Coleman. "Creed Ford and Norman Abdallah (Owners of Carino's Italian Grill) stepped up to the pasta plate for me as did my team at Joe Gibbs Racing and provided me the opportunity of a lifetime for which I am forever thankful. Not everyone gets a chance like this to team with a world class racing organization and an awesome restaurant group. Everywhere we raced this year we had the chance to eat Carino's great Italian food and drive the best cars on the track. I would say I am a pretty fortunate young man."
Coleman made the most of his opportunity while stepping into a challenging situation. His Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff summed it up.
"Brad had a very difficult challenge in front of him in 2007 and more than earned everyone's respect at Joe Gibbs Racing," claimed Ratcliff. "He was the youngest driver in the series for most of the year. He was not in the car every weekend so he had the challenge of building team chemistry throughout the season. Most of his races were on tracks he had never even seen before. And to top it off, he was a teenage Busch Series rookie racing against a bunch of experienced Cup veterans. I would say the odds were stacked against him and he achieved at the highest level."
In 16 races for JGR in 2007, the impressive youngster has posted three Top 5's, five Top 10's, seven Top 15's and nine Top 20's along with winning the Pole at Talladega and outside Pole at Bristol. In addition, he earned the respect and admiration of fellow competitors as a talented and mature driver.
"Brad proved very quickly that he belongs at the top level of this sport," claimed Gibbs Vice President Busch Operations, Steve deSouza. "He is a naturally gifted driver who does not take his skills for granted. He works as hard off the track as he does on the track and that is going to bring him great success in NASCAR."
Coleman has recently made headlines by signing two independent driver agreements in both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In 2008 he will run the No. 27 Kleenex Ford Fusion for new Brewco Motorsports owner Gary Baker in the Nationwide Series and begin his Cup career by testing and running his inaugural Cup races for Hall of Fame Racing.