JEFFERSON, Ga. (July 19) – JEGS.com Chevrolet driver Cody Coughlin kicked off the second half of the 2012 season with a well-earned seventh-place finish in the JEGS Pro Late Model 50 Wednesday night at Gresham Motorsports Park.
With a retooled team behind him, Coughlin started fourth on the half-mile track before getting bumped back in the opening laps. But the 16-year-old driver soon found his rhythm and turned consistent lap times the rest of the night.
On the last lap, Coughlin made a decisive inside move in Turn 2 to take seventh place in the final order.
"I learned a lot tonight," Coughlin said. "I know I've got a long way to go. It's not going to happen overnight, and I need more laps. That's why we're going to race more, because getting seat time is invaluable. We got beat around a bit tonight, but we'll take seventh.
"This track is hard to pass on, and it seemed like I tried the whole race to get seventh. Finally, on the last lap, we were able to make it stick, and we got the spot. But it was tough."
Coughlin raced for the first time with veteran Late Model driver Bubba Pollard as a coach and former NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Scott Wimmer as spotter. Under the leadership of team manager Kevin Hamlin and crew chief Butch VanDoorn, Coughlin is working hard to improve his skills on and off the track.
"It was an honor to have a legend like Bubba Pollard helping me out this weekend," Coughlin said. "He gave me lots of valuable insight, and I'm growing every lap. Having Scott spot has helped a ton, too. He's great over the radio, giving me tips on maneuvering through traffic and getting better restarts."
Coughlin started the night racing in the eight-lap trophy dash, where he came home fourth to earn that starting position for the 50-lap feature. After surviving a couple early scrapes with other drivers, Coughlin settled into eighth for long green-flag runs.
"It was a great experience racing down South again," Coughlin said. "Gresham is a great facility, and I really love this track. I'm so thankful my family was here to support me, and I'm happy Jelly (sister Kennedi) is a real trooper at these races.
"We'll go to Anderson and see if we can keep improving. I've got a great team, a great family, and I'm blessed to have this opportunity. I think we have all the pieces put together, and we are excited to keep growing and racing. Tonight was a lot of fun."