Darlington: Coleman Pressley race report

Coleman Pressley pulls off top-15 in Darlington debut with R3 Motorsports CHINA GROVE, N.C. (May 8, 2010) -- Coleman Pressley looked pretty much like another Pressley who took to the track "too tough to tame" during his heyday in Friday night's...

Coleman Pressley pulls off top-15 in Darlington debut with R3 Motorsports

CHINA GROVE, N.C. (May 8, 2010) -- Coleman Pressley looked pretty much like another Pressley who took to the track "too tough to tame" during his heyday in Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington Raceway.

Pressley, the 21-year old son of two-time NNS Darlington winner Robert Pressley, qualified 18th in his first appearance at the 1.366-mile oval and raced to an impressive 15th-place finish. This was his career-best finish, in only his eighth-NNS start. Carrying the one-race sponsorship of Jasper Engines and Transmissions on the No. 23 Chevrolet, the young driver came out the "tamer" this time around.

The 147-lap race was slowed by several cautions in the early going, which prevented Pressley from getting into a rhythm to move forward and dropped him back to 22nd by a lap-31 restart after pitting for tires and fuel under caution. Once the race got going, he started to show what his Chevrolet was all about passing cars to break back into the top-20 positions by lap 41.

When it came to handling conditions of the R3 Chevrolet, Pressley said the car was good on entrance and in the middle of the turns. The only concern was a slight tight condition exiting the turn. The good news was the handling got better the car ran and the No. 23 Jasper Engines and Transmission car remained in the top-20 for the remainder of the race.

Crew chief Steve Plattenberger put the "Plattenberger Plan" into action telling Pressley to race the track, not the other cars until late in the race. He also told the young prot0x00e9g0x00e9 he would tell him when it was time "go time" for him to move forward.

The team's second pit stop took place on lap 59 for fuel, four tires and an air pressure adjustment. Once again, Pressley smoothly guided the Jasper Engines Chevrolet around the tricky track. And, once again, he gained positions to remain in the top 20 and cracked the top 15 by lap 70

The only other pit stops by the team were on laps 81 and 123. The last stop was for two, right-side tires to maintain track position. That, and there was little wear on the left side tires as seen from earlier stops.

In the closing laps, several cautions slowed the pace of the race. However, it enabled Pressley to gain more positions and earn his first, NASCAR Nationwide Series top-15 finish. It was also the second time this year R3 Motorsports had a top-15, with the first coming with Johnny Sauter behind the wheel at Phoenix International Raceway. It was also the team's third consecutive top-20 finish and fourth of the season.

This allowed them to move from 22nd to 21st in Owner's Points. Matter of fact, through the last six races, the unsponsored team has gained 10 positions in that category. The team is now just 10 markers from 20th place, 14 to 19th and 22 to 18th place.

The team is still looking for Primary and Associate Marketing partnerships to round out the 2010 season.

Coleman Pressley Quotes: "Man, that was an awesome race. I have to give credit to Darlington Raceway; I can see why so many drivers have such a tough time with that track. I was worn out after our practice session earlier in the day. For qualifying, I just wanted to lay down a respectable lap and get us a good starting position.

"We were a little tight on a few of the runs, but once we got going and logged a bunch of laps the car came to me. I thought I had a vibration there and backed off to see how it went in the middle of the race. But, it went away and I was able to keep racing and get back up in the top-20.

"The car was awesome all night. It's nice to finish these races and I have my career-best finish of 15th, too. Not bad; especially at a track like Darlington.

"I can't thank Mr. (Robert) Richardson and the R3 team enough for putting such a great car underneath me. I'd also like to thank Jasper Engines and Transmissions for jumping on board at the last minute. It's pretty neat to have the same sponsor on board that my dad had for so many years."

-source: r3 motorsports

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Coleman Pressley