Friday, December 19, 2008

Coleman out of limbo, back with Gibbs team

Brad Coleman’s head must have been spinning at one point this year.

One week he was named to replace J.J. Yeley in the No. 96 Sprint Cup car at Hall of Fame Racing. He earns the very last spot available for the field in his first try at Michigan in August.

But then, after finishing 38th in that race, Coleman was suddenly and Ken Schrader was back in it. Coleman, meanwhile, was also out of his Nationwide Series ride. The whole thing left the 20-year-old driver in a scary state of limbo.

Things are looking up again for Coleman, however. On Friday, Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Coleman will join Joey Logano and Denny Hamiln in sharing the No. 20 Nationwide Series ride in 2009.

It’s a homecoming for Coleman, who ran 17 Nationwide races for the Gibbs team in 2007 with three top-five finishes.

“I never would have left Gibbs in the first place, but the team just didn’t have the sponsorship available to put me in a full-time Nationwide ride in 2008 and we felt like I needed the seat time,” Coleman said.

J.D. Gibbs said Coleman is impressive.

“Brad showed us a lot of natural talent when we launched his Nationwide career here in 2007 and has matured a great deal by going through some tough challenges since then,” J.D. Gibbs said. “He has a bright future ahead of him and our entire organization is happy to have him back on the team.”

Coleman’s pretty happy, too.

“I feel like I got two years of experience all rolled into one in 2008,” he said. “Not only racing experience at the top two levels of the sport, but life experiences as well. I can promise you this, you will be hard pressed to find a harder working, more focused driver in the garage next year.”

* * *

The modifieds are coming to Bristol.

NASCAR’s oldest series will be part of Bristol Motor Speedway’s August weekend with a race on Wednesday, Aug. 19. The 150-lap race will join the Camping World Truck Series in a doubleheader that evening.

Drivers will get points in both the Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified tours for this event.

“This is an event we have wanted to host at Bristol Motor Speedway for some time,” track president and general manager Jeff Byrd said. “There is a tremendous history up north and in the New England area for modified racing with guys like Richie Evans, Jerry Cook, Mike Stefanik and my buddy Jimmy Spencer. But there is an incredible passion for this racing in the south as well. They run a great program in my hometown of Winston-Salem at Bowman-Gray.”

* * *

Two groups who’re working to help displaced workers from NASCAR teams through find new jobs and restart their lives have joined forces

The N.C. Motorsports Association’s Motorsports Employment Task Force and, an online resource for networking and the posting of resumes by displace workers are working together.

The web site was started by workers who lost their jobs at Dale Earnhardt Inc. The site has now been updated and relaunched and will post resumes of displaced workers from any team.

The NMCA group also has set up an employee assistance program through the Charlotte-based McLaughlin Young Group and consumer credit counseling and mortgage default insurance from United Family Services.


Anonymous said...

KUDOS TO Bristol Motor Speedway for bring the MODIFIED TOUR to the best half mile speedway in the World!

A positive move for the NASCAR and SMI.

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