Rookie Coleman, 18, wins first ARCA race

Updated: July 8, 2006, 12:13 AM ET
Associated Press

SPARTA, Ky. -- Rookie Brad Coleman had to hold off a seven-time champion to win his first ARCA race Friday night -- twice.

Coleman, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate who used video games to train for his stock-car career, won a caution-extended WLWT Channel 5-150 at Kentucky Speedway, edging out veteran Frank Kimmel in the extra lap.

Coleman was a half-mile from Victory Lane on the 100th and apparent final lap when officials put the race under a track record-tying ninth caution after Matt Hagans' car spun out of control.

The caution prolonged the race by 10 laps and set up a green-white-checker finish, yet another one-lap sprint for victory between Kimmel and Coleman.

"I thought the race was over," said Coleman, who finished in the top five for the fifth time in six career ARCA starts. "We're all happy. Then we find out we've got to do it again."

That was no problem: Kimmel barely even challenged him in the final lap.

Either Coleman or Kimmel had the lead for 97 of the 110 laps. Although Coleman started from the No. 3 position, he slipped midway through the race and had to fight his way back among the leaders.

"It was a lot of fun moving back to the front," said Coleman, who drove a Ford for Brewco Motorsports. "I love driving through traffic, weaving in and out of cars."

Kimmel said the better car won.

"He had some horses under that thing," Kimmel said. "I guess being here at Kentucky Speedway, horse power is the thing, right?"

Jeremy Clements was third, with Chuck Weber and Damon Lusk rounding out the top five. Bobby Gerhart, the ARCA points leader, finished eighth.

Female driver Erin Crocker got tangled up with Hagans with a few laps to go and didn't finish. Crocker had turned in a 177.34 mph qualifying lap to win the pole in the race for the second straight year.

She finished second in last year's race at Kentucky Speedway and was second last week at Kansas Speedway. No female driver has won a stock-car race in any of NASCAR's major national series or in ARCA's top series.

Coleman took the lead from Crocker early after a restart when the race went into its first caution. Crocker, who led for only six laps, would regain the lead briefly later in the race when several drivers pitted.

In another ARCA race earlier this year, Coleman was edged out in the green-white-checker finish by fellow 18-year-old Steve Wallace, son of former NASCAR star Rusty Wallace.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press