NASCAR Cup Series
Joey Logano Kept Telling Us He Was The Favorite and Backed it Up
Nov 7, 2022
"I just wanted to race in front of my kids and show them that their dad used to be a race car driver."
Still is, apparently.
A victory in the Fall Brawl at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday night completed a dream week for Coleman Pressley that included winning the NASCAR Cup Series championship last weekend at Phoenix Raceway and returning to Victory Lane as a driver for the first time in a decade just six days later.
Pressley, who spots for Joey Logano and the No. 22 Penske team on Sundays, actually had his driver in his ear for the victory at the Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars.
To his point, following a burnout on the frontstretch, the 34-year-old was joined by his family and young kids who had never experienced his career winning in Late Model Stocks across the Mid-Atlantic, a tenure that largely occurred well over a decade ago.
They were joined in the sea of humanity in Victory Lane by Robert Pressley, who had seen it all following his own extensive career winning at NASCAR’s highest levels.
Prior to Saturday night, Pressley hadn’t raced since a 2015 weekly show at Hickory Motor Speedway and hadn’t won since a 2014 Pro Cup Series race, also at Hickory. If there was any place for the 2009 Fall Brawl winner to make an impromptu comeback, this was it.
"It made sense," Pressley said. "Can’t say I had the bug to be a professional race car driver again. More than anything, I just wanted my kids to see me drive a race car one time, and I figured Hickory was the right place to do it."
The opportunity to drive a Byrd Brothers Racing car in the event only materialized when the Fall Brawl was rescheduled from October due to the national tire shortage. It also allowed Logano the opportunity to don the headset again for the first time since the Battle at the Beach at Daytona in 2012.
"Coleman and I have been best friends for a long, long time," Logano said. "To see him jump back in and start 16th and just kind of chill out and save his tires and methodically pass a couple here and there and then run down (Charlie Watson) and pass him clean and dealt with the pressure afterwards during the green-white-checkered … it was pretty awesome."
Logano himself has been on a whirlwind tour this past week, with his victory at Phoenix leading to a media tour with stops in Los Angeles and New York before returning home to North Carolina to spot for his spotter.
It was his idea and Logano just wanted to be around for the finish after DNFing his first handful of times calling races for Pressley.
"This is much better," Logano quipped.
It took a lot of effort from the duo, as well as a little bit of luck, as the two dominant leaders of the night crashed with 20 laps to go in Doug Barnes Jr. and Connor Hall.
Hall, like Pressley, started outside the top-15 as Barnes led from the pole and ultimately believes he just asked too much of his tires on a night where he had much better long run speed. He could quibble with parts of how Barnes raced him but wishes he had just showed another lap or so of patience.
"If it had stayed green, I had no doubt that we would have won this race, but the caution came out and I chose the bottom because I didn’t want to be vulnerable," Hall said. "We were just down on power a little bit and it took us a couple of laps to get going.
"We raced each other hard and when we got connected, it shot me up and all I saw was the stars, and really I just hate it because we both ended up with torn up race cars. And really, in hindsight, I probably should have let him go and given it one more lap because we were really good once we got going."
The crash didn’t even result in a caution, but it sent Watson to the lead with Pressley and Jaiden Reyna in tow. Pressley made the winning pass with five laps to go, but a spin for Dylon Wilson set up a green-white-checkered.
Reyna got a great launch on the restart, and arguably gave Watson enough of a challenge that Pressley was able to drive away to a walk-off win. Watson said there wasn’t much more he could have done on that final restart.
"Just made a bit of a mistake during the hallway break, freed it up too much when it was spot on in the first half," Watson said. "We’ll take a second place and learn from it for when we come back."
Pressley is the latest of a group of NASCAR notables to be entering the Late Model Stock fray this season with Dale Earnhardt Jr. racing this summer at North Wilkesboro and again next weekend in the South Carolina 400 at Florence with Rodney Childers also building a car for some point this winter.
Does the win make Pressley want to see what he has for either the 400 or the Thanksgiving Classic?
"Shoot, we’re going to Disneyworld."
What a way to end a driving career if that’s indeed what this was.
Fall Brawl XXIV
Hickory Motor Speedway
November 12 2022