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JASON COLEMAN HIT HIS MARKS An Inspired Approach Brought Jason Coleman The SCORE Trophy Truck Spec Win Story by Stuart Bourdon Photography by Get Some Photo and Coleman Motorsports “We had no plans to come to the 2021 SCORE San Felipe 250 until a few weeks before the race,” Jason Coleman admitted. “When the number of entries began stacking up, we thought, ‘hey this could be fun, let’s go to Mexico.’ That was that.” A hectic pace of preparation for the race occurred during those three weeks to put Coleman’s plan together. “It was me, my navigator/mechanic Brady Melin, and my dad Joe,” said Coleman. “A couple of buddies that were already going to be down in the area helped chase and pit. The result was spectacular considering the minimal crew we could round up at the last minute.” Out of 30 SCORE Trophy Truck Spec vehicles that qualified for the BFGoodrich Tires 34th SCORE San Felipe 250 Presented by Ford the day before the race, Coleman ended up in the tenth spot. “That meant we had nine competitors to catch, and 20 to keep from catching up,” he said. Race day wasn’t easy for anybody, as the normally rough and fast course sections got rougher and slower. “The whole thing was just non-stop whoops, but the first 40 miles of the race probably concerned me the most,” said Coleman. “Those first 40 are filled with spectators. You’re going fast and riding on the tops of the bumps, and at the same time trying to be safe getting out of town.” Legendary Inspiration Although the 2021 SCORE San Felipe 250 was the first Baja race for the team’s Herbst Smith Fabrication truck, it wasn’t Coleman’s first taste of Mexico. “My father worked pits for Ivan Stewart. I think I was a year or two old when I went to my first off-road race.” Today, Coleman is the owner of a busy construction company, but back when he was in high school, he got a job sweeping floors at Herbst Motorsport. “I have been around Trophy Trucks most of my life,” he said. Coleman raced Class 1600 buggies for six years and then built and campaigned a Class 10 car. “The buggies were a lot of fun and great training for me, but the goal was always to get into a truck,” said Coleman. He navigated for a few years, and then drove a SCORE Trophy Truck as part of the Stronghold Motorsports team, having successes at the 2017 SCORE Baja 1000 in the SCORE Trophy Truck Legends class. No amount of experience can foresee every problem, especially in Baja. Coleman and his team had an unpleasant surprise the night before the race. “We got through tech and realized the water pump on the engine was failing. Everyone scrambled and changed it, but one of the problems we encountered was an uncommon bolt that had broken,” said Coleman. “Brady found a replacement bolt and was up until about midnight getting the truck put back together.” BaJa Magic Once Coleman reached the first big wash in the San Felipe racecourse, he could focus on picking off competitors. “I got my first split time, and we were right there with the guys in the front,” he said. “Our pace was good so we kept cruising while pushing hard where we could.” Sometime around the midway point in the race, Coleman learned they were the third truck physically in the class and kept up the chase. “The last 50 miles of the race, we were able to get past another truck and were now running second in class on the road physically,” said Coleman. “Unfortunately, we got stuck in some traffic near the end and could not go as fast as we wanted. My mindset from the start was to just go. I wanted to drive with the hammer down all the way in and see what happened. If the truck held together, we would be able to drive the best we could and give it our all.” The team that crossed the finish line ahead of Coleman missed a Virtual Check Point (VCP) on the course, handing the first-place spot on the podium to Coleman and his small but hard-working team. “We had a clean day. There were no flats and we only stopped once in the Herbst pit for fuel. They did a flawless job of getting us out of there in a hurry. This Herbst Smith Fabrication truck is almost two years old, and it performs like a champ. We’ve been racing it stateside and talking about running it in Baja. There’s no place like it for off-road racing. Now we’re hooked. We’ll be back.” SJ

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