AP Photo/Jim Cole
Brad Coleman got sideways during the Nationwide Camping World 200 June 28 at New Hampshire.
spent Sunday night's Sprint Cup Series race in Fontana, Calif., wishing there was more he could be doing -- preferably driving the Hall of Fame Racing Toyota being wheeled by Ken Schrader
at the time.
Truth be told, Coleman wouldn't have minded a ride a night earlier, either, when the Nationwide Series ran at Auto Club Speedway.
For the moment, Coleman's driving options appear quite limited -- at least where races are concerned. Coleman hoped to be driving the No. 96 Camry full time at this point, after he was tabbed to replace J.J. Yeley
for the race at Michigan. That plan, though, quickly fell by the wayside.
With the team buried far outside the top 35 in owners' points, the team is trying several different approaches, including turning to the veteran Schrader, to get the car in the field. Hall of Fame, which also receives much of its equipment through an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, will also field a car for Joey Logano
in five races as part of its relationship with JGR.
There are a handful of races still to be determined, but there's no guarantee that any of them will find Coleman behind the wheel. He'll do some testing for Hall of Fame, but even if that's all he does the rest of the year, he won't regret leaving Baker Curb Racing's No. 27 Nationwide Series team.
"I think it was the right decision," Coleman said of leaving a team that has downsized to just one car and laid off a number of employees in the process. "Those are great guys over there -- great crew members. I loved working with them ... but it was the right move to move on and concentrate on the Sprint Cup deal."
That isn't to say he wouldn't gladly jump behind the wheel of a Nationwide Series car, or even a Craftsman Truck Series entry, if the right opportunity presented itself.
"I'll take any seat time I can get, if it's a Nationwide car or a truck, because I hear the trucks are a lot like the Cup cars compared to the Nationwide car," Coleman said. "Just any seat time I can get -- whether it's testing in the [Cup car] or running in the Nationwide car."
Coleman said he understands Hall of Fame Racing's approach, and that his goal was to learn as much as he could -- which is why he planned on taking in parts of the Cup race at Auto Club Speedway from the team's pit as well as parts of the race from the spotter's stand. He's also trying to learn what he can from talking to Schrader and observing how the veteran goes about a race.
Just don't ask Coleman about his plans for next year. He knows that largely depends on the status of Hall of Fame Racing, which was purchased by Arizona Diamondbacks executives Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel late last season.
"If this team's around, as of right now I'm going to be a part of this team so I'm excited about that," Coleman said. "The rest of this year is just focused on getting this team back into the top 35 points whether it's with Ken Schrader driving, Joey Logano driving or me driving so we can be good to go for next year."
Mark Ashenfelter is an editor at ESPN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.