CLERMONT, Ind. (Oct. 3) – JEGS Chevrolet driver Cody Coughlin persevered to a ninth-place finish Sunday in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour McGunegill Engine Performance 100 at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Coughlin qualified sixth and finished on the lead lap despite handling problems throughout the 100-lap race, earning the rookie-of-the-race award.
The finish was Coughlin’s fifth top-10 in the last six races and it all but assured the 15-year-old driver of winning the Howie Lettow Rookie of the Year Award for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour.
“The car was way loose the whole race, which was weird because we were really fast in both practices the day before the race,” Coughlin said. “It was uncontrollably loose in the race. We managed to finish ninth, which is definitely better than it could’ve been.
“It wasn’t what I was expecting, to be honest with you. I thought we’d have a real chance for the win, but we came up a little bit short.”
Coughlin’s JEGS Chevrolet was fast in the two practices at the famed .686-mile short track on Saturday. Coughlin posted a lap of 110.004 mph in the first practice to rank second, and he had a fast lap of 111.023 mph to be second-fastest in the final practice.
Coughlin then qualified sixth for the race with a lap of 111.899 mph. But he noticed the handling problem rear its head during qualifying.
“The car was great Saturday, and I was very happy with it,” Coughlin said. “Then it was a little bit free in qualifying, so that kind of set up the race, it seemed like. The second lap off qualifying, it was really loose. I had to get out of the gas.”
In Sunday’s race, the loose condition got worse, and the car was a handful to drive.
“Sometimes you have to turn right to get out of the corner, when obviously the objective is to go left,” Coughlin said. “That can be a bit of a handful at times. Plus, it can be a bit if a workout because you’re sawing on the wheel lap after lap.”
Still, Coughlin soldiered on and earned a hard-fought ninth-place finish.
“It just seemed like the car was loose the whole day,” Coughlin said. “But we kept fighting and come home with a top-10. Usually, I would be happy with a top-five, but considering there were 34 cars in this particular race, a top-10 is not that bad.
“When I got back to the pits at the end of the race it was awesome to see my mom and dad (Di and John Coughlin) and my sister Kennedi all cheering for me. My family and my faith are the most important things and it sure helps when you have a night like this one.”
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