Road America Holds Legitimate Promise for Coleman Driver's successful Nationwide return takes momentum to road course CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 15, 2010) - In just two races, Brad Coleman has proven his skills are still sharp in his return to the...
Road America Holds Legitimate Promise for Coleman
Driver's successful Nationwide return takes momentum to road course
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 15, 2010) - In just two races, Brad Coleman has proven his skills are still sharp in his return to the Nationwide Series after not racing for nearly ten months. This weekend, the 22 year-old Joe Gibbs Racing driver hopes to combine his current momentum with his respected road-racing skills to secure another top performance as NASCAR runs at historic Road America for the first time.
The young Texan returned to the Nationwide Series at Nashville Superspeedway two weeks ago, qualifying on the outside pole and posting a solid sixth-place finish. Last week, Coleman again qualified second at Kentucky Speedway and ran in the top five most of the race until cutting a tire on a restart when a lead car missed a shift and backed up the field, collecting Coleman in the process. He fought back to a 13th-place finish despite damage to the right-front of the No. 18 Toyota.
Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff is pleased with Coleman's return to the car and believes the team is poised for success at Road America.
"Brad has had a successful return to the drivers seat," said Ratcliff. "He has blown off the rust in very short order and done everything we have asked him to in his first two races. We are confident we can go to Road America and be competitive very quickly."
Coleman has made seven road-course starts in his Nationwide Series career, with a best finish of fifth with Ratcliff as his crew chief at his Watkins Glen debut in 2007. And while the finishes have not yet included a win, he has consistently run in the top ten at every road course he has visited.
The pair last worked together on a road course in Montreal during Coleman's rookie season, when Coleman posted a top ten finish after coming from behind in a race damaged car. Their other two road course outings together earned them the top five at Watkins Glen and a top ten run at Mexico City until a broken transmission ended their day.
Coleman is well known for his deep road course experience and will also be one of the few drivers in the 43-car Bucyrus 200 field that has raced at the 4.048-mile track. In 2004, as part of a full season in the Formula Mazda open-wheel series, the 16-year-old Coleman raced at Road America. He finished 11th that day in a race won by current Nationwide Series driver Michael McDowell.
And while the knowledge of Road America gives Coleman an inside hope when it comes to the Nationwide Series race this weekend, it's his road-racing background and NASCAR Nationwide success on road courses that makes him a solid choice for potential winners.
"While it certainly helps that I've been around the track, the drivers in this series are pros, not to mention the world-class road course ringers that are coming in for this event, and they will all get up to speed after a day of practice," said Coleman. "Like all road course races, it will come down to the team and driver combination that has best prepared for the competition and I think I am with the best team in the business."
Coleman will be driving Joe Gibbs Racing's potent No. 18 Toyota this weekend, which includes a full day of testing on Thursday to help drivers and teams get acclimated to the famed Elkhart Lake, WI road course.
"The track's so big and it takes so long to do a couple laps, it's going to take awhile for everyone to get up to speed," Coleman said. "I'm going to get myself up to speed, and then we'll work on the car. The biggest advantage I have is the knowledge and expertise of Jason Ratcliff and the entire No. 18 crew."
One of the key components to Saturday's race will be the stopping power of the heavy Nationwide Series cars. Coleman figures the Road America circuit will be tough on brakes.
"It has long straightaways like Montreal, with hard braking zones and 90-degree corners," Coleman said. "If you look at Road America's layout, almost all the corners are 90-degree, sharp, really slow corners - probably second-gear corners in these cars. It's going to be really tough on brakes."