Coleman Scores Top 5 at Watkins Glen Youngest Driver in Race Earns Consecutive Top 10 Finish Watkins Glen, NY (August 12, 2007) -- 19 year-old rookie Brad Coleman beat the odds when he put the No. 18 Carino's Italian Grill Chevrolet in the...
Coleman Scores Top 5 at Watkins Glen
Youngest Driver in Race Earns Consecutive Top 10 Finish
Watkins Glen, NY (August 12, 2007) -- 19 year-old rookie Brad Coleman beat the odds when he put the No. 18 Carino's Italian Grill Chevrolet in the Top 5 in his first outing at the famed Watkins Glen in New York. Making his finish even more notable was the fact he raced against 28 NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers and hired road course specialists, all of which had previous experience on the track.
"You are the real deal Brad!" claimed Joe Gibbs Racing Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff over the team radio as Coleman crossed the checkered flag behind four Cup drivers.
Coleman, the Raybestos Rookie of the Race, had qualified and started the car in 12th position after only one practice session and quickly worked his way into the Top 10. That is when Ratcliff called for a strategic fuel stop on lap eight that put Coleman back in the 40th position. Coleman then sliced through the field the rest of the afternoon and climbed into the fifth spot to stay with 23 laps to go.
"That is why I call him (Ratcliff) The Fox on the Box," said Coleman. "Mr. Roush is the Cat in the Hat and Jason Ratcliff is the Fox on the Box. He is an outstanding race strategist and he is so good with me on the headset. Even though it was my first time to run The Glen he had me totally confident in what I was doing and we were running lap times consistent with the leaders for most of the day."
Coleman, who finished 8th last week in Montreal, also credited his back-to-back road course Top 10's to his cross-training background and countless hours on a race simulator.
"We always focused my career development on a balanced combination of ovals and road courses," stated the young Houstonian. "We knew the skill sets gained from various types of tracks, cars, and racing conditions would prepare me well for the future. Road courses are highly technical in ways that ovals are not and ovals have their own unique set of technical challenges and demands that road courses do not have. I truly love racing on both and know for a fact that my skill sets from each carry over to the other and make me a better driver. Now I am able to polish those skills on my BRD race simulator and I drove hours on Watkins Glen before I ever got to the track."
The finish gave Coleman his third Top 5, fifth Top 10 and 7th Top 20 in just 12 races for his Joe Gibbs racing team. Coleman's next race will be this Saturday in the Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway.