It’s a new era for Cody Coughlin and it begins this weekend at SpeedFest 2013.  Although he is just seventeen years old, Coughlin has numerous highlights on his resume from his two years of Late Model racing.  He was the 2011 Rookie of the Year in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour.  He has set fast time in prestigious races in the Midwest and the Southeast, the two hotbeds of Late Model racing.  He’s also been a consistent threat for victory just about any time he and his JEGS.com team has hit the track.

But Coughlin isn’t about to let past accomplishments speak for themselves.  In 2013, he is eager to raise the bar even higher in his third full season of Late Model competition.  The first event of the new season, SpeedFest 2013 at Georgia’s Watermelon Capital Speedway on January 26 and 27, offers Coughlin and Team JEGS a fresh start on what they hope will be a breakout season of Pro and Super Late Model racing.

“I had fun in the offseason with Christmas and all, but I am ready to get back behind the wheel,” said Coughlin.  “I am really excited about the team we have put together, and think that it will lead to a lot of good finishes.”

Coughlin will start the 2013 season at SpeedFest behind the wheel of his CRA/JEGS All-Stars Tour Pro Late Model.  While the car and colors may be the same for this event, there will be a new look to Team JEGS in the pit area. 

The team has enlisted noted short track driving champion and current crew chief and chassis expert Freddie Query to build a new Hamke chassis racecar, as well as to serve as a consultant to Coughlin and his crew.  Longtime Midwestern car builder and crew chief Chad Wood will take the reigns as Crew Chief for Coughlin’s efforts, while veteran NASCAR crew chief Kevin Hamlin will continue in the role of Team Manager for a second season.  Longtime NASCAR driver Scott Wimmer will serve in the important role of Spotter for the second consecutive season.  In the pit area, Team JEGS an A-class crew which includes Dave Holt, Jeremy Wilbert, Rick Rossiter, John Klock and Tony Collier.

“We have a great team and getting to work with Freddie is cool,” added Coughlin.  “He is a legend in what we do and when you get behind one his cars, you know why he is a legend.  His cars are better than anything I’ve ever driven.  We tested with him recently and that got me so excited for the season. 

“I was going into the year thinking that we would have a good one, but this deal is already exceeding my expectations.  Chad and Kevin are going to be working on it here (at the team’s Ohio shop) and I think it’s going to be a really good team.”

For Coughlin, being able to work with Query, a former All-American 400 and NASCAR Champion as a driver as well as a winner of prestigious Late Model events as a crew chief, is an exciting opportunity.

“Freddie has made me feel a lot more confident about myself as a driver,” said Coughlin.  “I always felt like I could do it if I had the proper car. I know I can do it. It’s just a matter of getting behind the right wheel and getting the car set up right.  He taught me that it’s not all on you and not all on the crew.  It’s a really big team effort.  I have the confidence in myself and now I have a lot of confidence in the cars as well.”

SpeedFest 2013 will be the non-points kickoff for the 2013 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, the series where Coughlin will compete for the championship in 2013.  Coughlin also plans to mix in Super Late Model events in 2013 in some of the country’s biggest events with his new Super Late Model prepared by Query, Wood and the rest of Team JEGS.

“SpeedFest is exciting because it’s not a points paying event.  You can take a few more risks if you want to.  It will be good to go down there and knock the rust off a little bit, but I’m really excited about going down to New Smyrna (FL) for Speedweeks in February.  We have a new Phil Harper engine and Hamke chassis on the way and Freddie will be working on that.  We are going to put that together and run it.  I am definitely excited to run more Super races too. With God, my family and team on my side I think we are going to have a great year.”

SpeedFest 2013 at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Georgia kicks off with practice and qualifying events on Saturday, January 26.  The 100-lap JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour feature event will be Sunday, January 27.  Fans unable to make it to the race can follow along with Coughlin’s efforts at SpeedFest through Speed51.com’s live Trackside Now event coverage all weekend long.

For more information on Cody Coughlin and Team JEGS, visit www.teamjegs.com.  Follow Team JEGS on Twitter, @TeamJEGS and “Like” Team JEGS on Facebook.

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