A Family Legacy Continues at Hickory Motor Speedway as
3rd Generation Driver Takes the Checkered Flag
By Adrian Sanders
The Pressley name has been known around Hickory Motor Speedway for many years. Going all the way back to 1972, Bob Pressley put the name on the map as he became the Hickory Motor Speedway track champion that
year and again in 1974. Fast forward to today, Bob's son Robert currently competes in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and third generation driver Coleman Pressley competes in the Bojangles Late Model Division
at Hickory. Coleman, eighteen years old, drove an impressive race in the season's first 100 lapper and joined the ranks of his father and grandfather by putting the Pressley name back in Victory Lane at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Jesus Hernandez led the field to the green flag in his #41 Waste Management Chevrolet with #21 Brian Connor starting on the outside. Connor got a good start as the green flag waved and was able to make the high line work by lap 2 and take over the top spot. Coleman Pressley, who started 5th, began to pursue an early battle in his Kingsford/Clorox car as he takes the 4th place spot from #14 Randy Burnett on lap 2.
Things begin to pan out as the caution flies for the first time of the night on lap 10 for the spun car #64 of Nick Losito.
Connor leads everyone back for the restart and 3rd place running Andy Mercer gets a great jump on Jesus Hernandez, passing him on the inside in turn 1 to take over the 2nd spot. Coleman Pressley begins to work on
Jesus Hernandez to challenge for 3rd place, but he is unable to complete the pass before caution comes out
again on lap 11 for a 3 car pileup on the front stretch involving #4 Nate Pieper, #05 Danny Chafin and
#64 Nick Losito.
Brian Connor continues to hang on out front for the restart. By lap 14, Pressley is ready to mount another charge on Jesus Hernandez for 3rd place. This shapes up to be one of the best battles on the track
as the two run side by side for almost 12 laps before Pressley finally gets the advantage and clears Hernandez to take over the 3rd spot. The battle for the top spot heats up by lap 25 as Andy Mercer looks to the inside of Connor down the backstretch to take the lead. Previous feature winner Andy Loden sees his way into the top 5 for the first time of the night as he passes #32 Kevin Leicht on lap 28 for 5th spot.
Loden had such a great run on the outside line that he used that omentum to make a run for 4th place on #41 Jesus Hernandez. After a 2 lap battle, Loden prevails on the high line and takes over 4th.
On lap 32,
Coleman Pressley takes over 2nd place after passing
Brian Connor on the outside coming down the front
stretch. Something is apparently amiss on Connor's car as Loden passes him high on lap 34 and takes over
3rd. Connor dives hard to the inside on lap 35 trying to get slowed down on the backstretch to get to the pits and runs Jesus Hernandez into the grass allowing Kevin Leicht to get by Hernandez for 4th.
experienced some type of mechanical difficulty and
parked for the night. Caution comes out again on lap
40 as Pete Silva in the #01 Blossman Propane car made
contact with Chris Bristol sending his #99 Kodak car
backing into the wall. NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing
Series Officials showed the #01 of Silva the black
flag relegating him to the back of the pack for the
restart for the contact. However, rather than serving
the penalty and continuing, Silva chose to load it on
Andy Mercer led the field to the restart with Coleman Pressley and Andy Loden in tow. 5th place running Jesus Hernandez got a boot from behind coming out of turn 2 by #95 Keith Bumgarner. Hernandez got very
loose but hung on to it and gathered it up back in 9th place. A fierce battle begins to rage up front as Pressley begins to look under Mercer for the lead on lap 48. As these two battle low, Andy Loden takes his signature high line and tries to make a pass on both of them. He is unable to make it work as they almost go 3 wide in several instances, pushing Loden up just a little too high to make it stick. Loden settles
back in 3rd as caution is displayed again on lap 50 as #2 Matt Leicht spins on the front stretch.
Andy Mercer continues to lead as the field restarts single file. On lap 53, Pressley makes his move to pressure for the top spot once again as he looks to the inside of Mercer on the backstretch. They battle
side by side for 5 laps as Loden rides along behind waiting to see who gets the advantage. By lap 58, Mercer clears Pressley and hangs on to the lead.
Loden decides to make an outside run on Pressley again and challenge for 2nd on lap 59. They run side by side and on lap 61, Mercer gets loose as Pressley looks to the inside almost making it another 3 wide battle for the lead. All this shuffling allows #32 Kevin Leicht into the picture as he runs to the low side of Andy Mercer.
The top 4 now look like they are running pace laps they are so close together and side by side. Then on lap 63, the worst happens as the #10 of Andy Mercer loses water from the engine and spins in his own fluid going into turn 1. Mercer slides right in front of Andy Loden sending him spinning and collecting several cars in the accident including 4th place running Kevin Leicht and pole sitter #41 Jesus Hernandez.
Coleman Pressley was able to keep his nose clean and is able to lead the field back for the restart followed by #95 Keith Bumgarner, #54 Brandon Dean, #09 Randy Gentry and #58 Carl Cormier. On the restart,
Carl Cormier goes to the inside of Gentry and takes over the 4th spot as #17 Kyle Mansch follows. Cormier, after battling from deep in the field from a bad qualifying effort takes over the 3rd spot by passing Brandon Dean down the backstretch on lap 68.
The field settles out with Pressley upfront mounting a
sizeable lead on Bumgarner. It seemed as though
Pressley was home free until that dreaded late race caution flew on lap 97 as #74 James Hansen spins
coming out of turn 4. Kyle Mansch also experiences troubles with his car as he parks for the night,
giving up his 5th place spot to #14 Randy Burnett.
Coleman Pressley was able to withstand the pressure of a 3 lap shootout as he drove uncontested to the
checkered flag to capture his first ever Bojangles Late Model feature win followed by #95 Keith
Bumgarner, #58 Carl Cormier, #54 Brandon Dean and #14 Randy Burnett.
Pressley had this to say in Victory Lane:
"We have worked hard these last 2 weeks that we have been off. Thanks to my Dad, Jerry, Steve, Ricky, Ryan and all the guys that have helped...I can't thank them enough. They are down there working every night and
without them I couldn't do it. We spent all year last year just learning how to pass and that really paid off tonight with all these strong cars. This is very special because my Dad got his first win here at Hickory and I couldn't pick a better place to start my career. I have got to thank all my sponsors Kingsford Charcoal, Clorox, Corporate Image, Goodridge, Brickman Paint and Body, Celebrity Hot Dogs and Kmart. I just can't thank everybody enough. You know my Grandfather is a track champion here and I would love to do that too. If we keep it up like we are right now, I think we can do it."
In the Advance Auto Parts Super Truck Division, Ben Stancill qualified his #24 truck on the pole and drove
all the way to the checkered flag to pick up his first ever win at Hickory Motor Speedway. Stancill was
followed by #69 Trevor Hignutt, #44 Ben Ebeling, #12 Robin Harris and #45 Kenneth Pardue.
In the J&J Roofing and Sandblasting Street Stock Division, #32Gary Ledbetter made an impressive 3 wide
move for the lead late in the race to take the win followed by #03 Kevin Eby, #54 Waylon Flynn, #40 David
Smith and #64 Marshall Sutton.
Ricky Crooks claimed his first ever win in the Pro-4 division holding off the charges from #4 Adam Beaver,
#21 Todd Harrington, #3 Donnie Harmon and #1 Jacob Lehn.
Join us next week at Hickory Motor Speedway, April 29th for a full night of racing action from the
Bojangles Late Models, Limited Late Models, Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks, J&J Roofing and Sandblasting
Street Stocks, and Hobby Stocks!