Coleman Carries Owners' Championship Lead to Montreal Joe Gibbs Racing driver takes the No.18 North of the Border CHARLOTTE, N.C. (August 22, 2010) - Brad Coleman and Kyle Busch are teammates. Busch is arguably the hottest driver in NASCAR...
Coleman Carries Owners' Championship Lead to Montreal
Joe Gibbs Racing driver takes the No.18 North of the Border
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (August 22, 2010) - Brad Coleman and Kyle Busch are teammates. Busch is arguably the hottest driver in NASCAR while Coleman continues to work for the opportunity to prove he can produce the same kind of results for Joe Gibbs Racing. The last time Coleman got in the driver's seat he was setting up the car for Kyle to win at Iowa. Now he will take the 73 point lead and momentum Kyle and the No. 18 team have created to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the NAPA Auto Parts 200.
Coleman's last road course outing was at Road America in June where he won the WIX Filter laps leader award and posted a sixth place finish. Busch took the same car to Watkins Glen two weeks ago and finished fifth. The 22 year-old believes the No. 18 car will also do well at Montreal.
"We've consistently run up front at Montreal and had some great races go bad when we were bit by others' tough luck," said Coleman. "I finished Top 10 there in my rookie season after being knocked out of the Top 5. I was running in the Top 5 last year as well until another driver knocked us out of the race. With a little luck, I know we can contend for a win and keep the No. 18 up front in owners' points. Besides, any time you race with Jason Ratcliff as your crew chief you have a chance to win."
In addition to his strong runs at Montreal, Coleman has repeatedly proven his prowess on the road courses with a Top 5 at Watkins Glen his rookie year in a JGR machine and another Top 10 at Watkins Glen in a Baker Curb race car. He was running Top 10 at Mexico City twice, only to be taken out by a broken transmission on one run and spun out from behind by another driver late in the 2008 race. In all, Coleman has been a known factor in every single road course race he has run under the NASCAR banner.
"I am not a "Road course specialist" insists Coleman, but I am highly capable of running up front every time I set four wheels on one. Road courses take a technical know-how of driving that in my opinion only the best drivers have. Being a great driver in NASCAR requires you to run well at the road courses as well as the ovals. You can't be a top level NASCAR driver and be afraid of either type of track. You need to be good at all of them!"
While this will only be Coleman's fifth race of the season, he has made the most of his limited opportunity by consistently qualifying and racing up front. He has two finishes of sixth, one of 13th when he was running Top 5 late in the race and was collected on someone's missed shift on a restart, and ran into more tough luck in his last race at St. Louis when he was collected in his own teammate's misfortune.
Coleman and Jason Ratcliff have history at Montreal
In 2007, the rookie was at Montreal for his first look at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. He was running in the Top 5 towards the end of the race when the field exploded in turn one, taking a number of cars out. Coleman's Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 FedEx car was caught up in the melee and sat crumpled up in the pits with one lap to go. The team told him it was a great run but time to shut it down and call it a day.
"I'll never forget that day," noted Coleman. "We had a Top 5 run going, got caught up in someone else's mess, and then came back to the pits with the hood folded up in half so I could not see. Jason (Ratcliff/Crew Chief) said it was a great run but we were done. I asked them to hammer on it and get me back out before the field came around. They did a great job and we went back out 13th as they dropped the green-white-checkered. It was a single file restart but I was able to pass five cars on the last lap to bring home a Top 10 finish."
Coleman will be driving the No. 18 SafeWay Driving Centers Toyota. SafeWay is a Houston, TX based driving school where Texas teenagers go to train for their driver license.