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Camping with Coleman: First day at Bristol a busy one for Pressley

Coleman Pressley makes his debut with R3 Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Photo: Lee Montgomery/

By Coleman Pressley
Special to

BRISTOL, Tenn. - Man, what a day. I’m still trying to digest everything that went on today here at Bristol. I love this place and have raced here before in my Late Model. But to come out here in a Nationwide car like this is totally different.

We made a lot of laps in the No. 23 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Chevrolet for R3 Motorsports. Oh yeah, how do you like me having my dad’s (Robert Pressley) old sponsor on the car this weekend? I thought that was pretty cool and I had a lot of people comment on a Pressley having Jasper on a car again.

Our first practice was good for the team because we got to get the car better. The second practice was good for me because I learned a lot of things with the more laps I made each time around this place.

The one thing that really surprised me was how intense it was being around other cars. This is a tight track, but you have some room to race. But then, again that margin of room can go away pretty quickly when a car gets real close to you.

I was having a blast out there, I couldn’t stop smiling. When I was driving during practice, crew chief Steve Plattenberger, my dad, the spotter and the other driver of the No. 23, Robert Richardson, Jr. were all helping and talking to me.

Another cool thing was when my dad brought Harry Gant over to give me some advice. You have to respect – and listen – when someone like Harry gives you some lessons. Then, we had Marcos Ambrose come in the hauler and talk with me for awhile. It was pretty neat having my dad, Harry and Marcos all talking with me.

I feel pretty good about how we’re going to qualify and race on Saturday. We’ve all been talking and coming up with a strategy for the race, so that’s good.

When I got back to the room Friday night, I did 800 laps on my NASCAR Sim Racing game to practice more. Before that, I joined about seven of my other Nationwide Series drivers for an autograph session at the track. I took 200 hero cards with me, and I came home with none. So, that’s 200 more people who now know Coleman Pressley.