Racing to the finish as a family

They say a family who races together stays together. Last weekend revealed that in off-road racing, this is more the case than not. There are many off-road racing families that do more than just watch.

Jason Coleman, who races for Coleman Motorsports, has his mother handle the logistics and his father, Joe Coleman, is an integral part of his pit crew and co-owner of the team. The efforts this year have paid off. Jason Coleman, due to the Pahrump Nugget 250, finished second in class in points in the Best in the Desert Class 1000.

Coleman Motorsports is a true family business and they are a racing family.

“My son (Jason Coleman) has been watching off-road racing since he was two years old. His father would take him to these races and they would camp out and have a great time,” Janet Coleman said. “He’s just always been around it. He then applied for a job in high school with Terrible’s Motorsports as a volunteer and swept the floors for six months before he got a paid position.”

He eventually met his brother-in-law, who had his own racing team. They became friends and he eventually met his future wife and got married.

“That’s when we became a racing family,” Janet Coleman said.

“We then started our own team,” Janet Coleman said. “I came aboard to help with logistics four years ago. I chase them in the car and make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be. It’s really fun on the chase races cause you get to see him out there. I make sure our guys are ready and they know what to do.”

Janet Coleman puts together the pit crew pit book.

“I compose all that so they know where they are supposed to be,” she said.

She said she puts people with experience where they are supposed to be and it is rare a volunteer doesn’t know what they are doing.

“We have tools, fuel and everything they need to keep the car going at the pit,” Janet Coleman said. “We never had anything major and a lot of it is tires. I am just behind the scenes keeping things organized.”

Joe Coleman is more involved with the pit crew.

“I always have been involved and supported him,” he said. “Racing has been in his blood. He (Jason Coleman) always wanted to be part of it. I told him to get involved with a race shop. I had to push him into it with Terribles.”

Joe Coleman makes sure that the fueling team knows what it is doing. No seconds can be spared when in this race you are racing the clock. Everything must be efficiently run.

“He and I own the team together,” Joe Coleman said. “I fuel the car. I take charge of that and make sure he is on his way in 14 to 15 seconds. We practice it. It is involved. You have to be in fire suits. We have guys that just do fueling. We get them in and out and that can be the difference in winning and losing. We have other crews that change tires.”

Joe Coleman talked a bit about the challenges of the Pahrump Nugget 250 course.

“Here there is rough rocks and it’s about tire management,” he said. “The Radar tires have been good to us. This tire went the whole race at Vegas to Reno. Dust will be a challenge. The wind will be our friend. It will allow him to chase down the guys ahead of him.”

Joe Coleman said it gave his son a bit of an advantage that he raced Pahrump before, but every season changes the course so it all changes.

The race has significance to the Coleman family because Joe Coleman’s father lived in Pahrump.

“He will be racing for his grandfather, who passed away and lived in Pahrump,” he said.

The Carolan family, of ICR Motorsports, is another racing family who has the whole family involved in keeping two cars and two teams racing. They also have a mother-and-father team keeping things going.

Tim Carolan has been racing for four years and his son, Nick Carolan, just started racing. This year the family took the Best in the Desert 2400 Class Championship.

“In the long races my son is the navigator,” Tim Carolan said. “For the Pahrump 250, my son and I will be racing because we already have the championship sewed up. My wife Barb is our crew chief of the team, who handles the logistics.”

This racing is relatively new to the family. Barb Carolan at first stayed on the sidelines.

“I saw that the team needed some help in the paperwork,” she said. “I watched two races before I got involved and I saw the team was a little disorganized and so I stepped in. I do the paperwork and arrange for the hotels. These guys have got to eat too. Being that new to it, they didn’t do that either so I stepped in and got them a place to put their head at night.”

The racing has brought a lot of work to the family but they keep it on the fun side.

“This has been awesome and a lot of fun,” Barb Carolan said.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at

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