Pressley Takes Family Heritage to the Top

April 19, 2021

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The fact that Coleman Pressley earns a living in the NASCAR Cup Series isn’t surprising. What some might consider unexpected, however, is that Pressley carries on his family’s rich tradition of competing at NASCAR’s highest level as a spotter instead of as a driver or crew chief.Penske Material Logo 

Pressley’s father Robert competed in both the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series and his grandfather Bob was well known in the late model ranks throughout the Southeast.

“I always say the opportunity was there for sure,” said Pressley, the 33-year-old resident of Asheville, N.C. “I had two of the best teachers that introduced me to the sport and to how to do it correctly and at a high level. Having them there made it easier.”

While Pressley may not have followed a traditional path through his racing heritage he knows that his family helped him make it to the top of the sport – literally. Pressley serves as the eye in sky as the spotter for Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Ford Mustang team, along with Austin Cindric and the No. 22 Ford Xfinity Series team.


“My dad taught me how to work on the cars and instilling a really hard work ethic in me. I feel like he taught me the right way to race and how to approach different racetracks and how to get your mindset right. And then on top of that he was in the Cup Series for so long so he kind of taught me how you should deal with the media and your sponsors and how to take care of them because it’s more than just driving. My grandfather passed away in 2004, really before I started racing big cars, but I think what he taught me was how to manage the aggression.” 

It was natural that Pressley embarked on a driving career and was successful. He won the 2010 UARA championship, a late model stock car tour that travelled across the southeast. Pressley also owns two victories in the Bobby Isaac Memorial event at Hickory Speedway – an event that his grandfather also won. He also made 12 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts from 2009-10 for JTG-Daugherty Racing and JR Motorsports.

After his NXS experience, Pressley knew that he would have to step away from driving to continue his racing career. Fortunately, he was able to find opportunities atop the pit box. He worked as a crew chief in the K&N Pro Series from 2012 thru 2015. Pressley was at REV Racing in 2015 when a call from JTG-Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter changed his career path.      

“I had a family history with him. My dad drove for him and I was actually a development driver for that team,” Pressley said. “At that time, I didn’t really have a desire to be a spotter because I was taking the crew chief route. But I made the decision to start spotting and haven’t looked back from it.”

The first race for Pressley was the 2015 Daytona 500 working with driver AJ Allmendinger and in 2019 he joined Team Penske as the spotter for Keselowski on the No. 2 team. In 2020, he also picked up spotting duties for Cindric, who promptly captured the NXS Championship at season’s end. 

Penske MaterialsPressley’s job as a spotter requires a great deal of preparation, mostly involving film study and team meetings throughout the week.  

“My typical week consists of Monday meetings, debrief the previous race and looking forward to the next race with the crew chief, engineer, and drivers and that’s really for both series, Cup and Xfinity,” Pressley said. “Tuesday is kind of my off day but usually at some point in the day I have the next weekend’s race playing in the background. Wednesday is my Xfinity day where I’ll watch film with Austin and (crew chief) Brian Wilson, and we’ll watch the previous race and where we’re going to next. We’ll critique what we did right, what we did wrong. Thursday is my Cup Series day. I’ll pay attention to more of the restart stuff. What’s become more important to the spotter’s role in the Cup Series is restarts and situational things. Brad and I sit down and or call each other on Fridays and go over what we’ve seen, just to make sure that we’re on the same page.”

Perhaps one of the most unique relationships in all of NASCAR is that between the Pressley family and former NBA legend Brad Daugherty. Daugherty is from Black Mountain, N.C., (near Asheville) and regularly attended races at New Asheville Speedway, where he struck up a friendship with Robert Pressley, Coleman’s father. Once Daugherty began his NBA career, he helped Robert buy his first Xfinity Series car and even attend Coleman’s youth basketball games.  

“He’s been a good supporter of the Pressley family in general,” Pressley said. “I never knew he was the all-time leading scorer for the Cleveland Cavaliers until Lebron James came along. You never knew how good he was at his profession just because he was our friend and our buddy and supporter. He helped us along the way through our racing and was just a fun person to be around.

“For me personally, I think what he’s helped me with is just my ability to talk to people, talk to sponsors, and talk to the media. That’s kind of when I knew him most was his post-basketball career when he was involved in the media. When I was a driver, he took a big role in helping me understand how to talk and make sure that I say the right things and really just endorsed me. Whenever there was an opportunity for me to get a ride, he was one of the first people that I’d use as a reference. He was definitely on my side.”

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