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Brad Coleman, right, talks with his sister, Brooke, after winning the pole for the NASCAR Busch Series Aaron’s 312 auto race in Talladega.
AP photo by Glenn Smith
Brad Coleman, right, talks with his sister, Brooke, after winning the pole for the NASCAR Busch Series Aaron’s 312 auto race in Talladega.

Coleman wins
first Busch pole

By Mike Harris
Associated Press Writer

TALLADEGA — Nineteen-year-old Brad Coleman gave Joe Gibbs Racing its fifth consecutive Busch Series pole at a restrictor-plate track Friday.

The youngster said the first pole of his NASCAR career, coming on the day his paternal grandfather was buried in College Station, Texas, was a blessing.

"It's been tough on my family, particularly my dad," Coleman said.

"But I felt a guardian angel out there today helping push that car from behind."

Coleman joined Gibbs teammates J.J. Yeley (3) and Aric Almirola in winning plate poles in the No. 18 Chevrolet, but Coleman said this 18 is not the same car.

"It's actually a brand new car," he said shortly after turning a lap of 184.299 mph to beat out veterans Dave Blaney (184.062) and Jason Leffler (183.935) for the top spot Saturday in the Aaron's 312 at Talladedega Superspeedway.

"The team didn't know how good it would be here, but it was awesome," added Coleman, who will is making only the seventh Busch start overall and fifth this season.

It will be the first time in his career he has started a race higher than 14th and Coleman has yet to finish better than 15th.

Winning the pole was exciting for Coleman, who saw a copy of the qualifying times, with his name on top of the list, on a table in the media center and asked, "Can I have this piece of paper?"

Casey Mears will start third, followed by Ward Burton, Clint Bowyer, last week's Busch winner at Phoenix, rookie David Ragan, last year's top rookie Danny O'Quinn and series points leader Carl Edwards.

Looking ahead to the race, with so many experienced drivers behind him, Coleman said, "I hope they do work with me out there. I don't know, being a rookie, if the whole field will go training by me or not."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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