Among the challengers set to race around the half-mile track is 15-year-old Cody Coughlin, the son of drag racing champion John Coughlin and his wife Diana and grandson of Hall of Fame drag racer Jeg Coughlin Sr. Paving a new and exciting road for fans of the yellow and black to follow, Cody Coughlin has been turning left for most of his brief driving career, winning the USAC .25 Midget Heavy Mod championship in 2009 before stepping up to his current ride, a 450-horsepower full-bodied Late Model Chevrolet Stock Car.
“We’re ready to race,” Coughlin said. “The whole family is here to support me — mom, dad, and my sister Kennedi, who is my biggest cheerleader — along with my cousin T.J. (Troy Coughlin Jr.) and Landon (Cassill), who is offering his expert advice, so we’re anxious to get started.
“The car has been perfect since we rolled it out of the trailer. It’s a night and day difference from how it was in New Smyrna (Fla.) earlier this year and it was running well then. The guys have done an excellent job. My thanks to Rich Lushes, Gary and Bud St. Amant, John Szittai, Clay Filson, Dave Holt, and Rick Rossiter.
Coughlin has been working with highly-respected crew chief and tutor Lushes, who helped shape the careers of 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year Landon Cassill, Nationwide pro Michael Annett, and Stephen Light, among others.
“He’s ahead of schedule,” Lushes said. “He’s got a great attitude and he’s a very focused young man. Each driver is different, but he’s as good as anyone I’ve worked with in the past. I’m still figuring out what motivates him and what buttons to push but we’re advancing well. I’m happy with his progress.
“There’s no pressure. We’ve been here (in Toledo) testing and we’ve talked about this weekend’s race. Our goals for Cody are to stay out of trouble, drive smart, and get a top 10 finish. We’d really like to see him complete every lap and get that experience.”
Coughlin’s goals are a little higher. “I’d like to win,” he said. “Why not? As a racer, you always want to win. The way this thing has tested this week I think we’ll have a chance.
“We’ve already had a lot of fun here in Toledo doing stuff with the family. We went to a Toledo Mud Hens baseball game, had dinner at a 90-year-old steakhouse one night, and the Spaghetti Warehouse the next. It’s always fun when we go on the road.”
Fans can arrive at the VR-12/Easter Bunny 100 presented by JEGS.com as early as 8 a.m. ET, Saturday. There is a practice session scheduled 12:30 p.m., with qualifying at 4 p.m. The track will host an Easter Egg Hunt and Nickel/Penny Goldrush for the kids at 5:30 p.m. The racing action will begin at 6 p.m. and will include the VR-12/Easter Bunny 100 Presented by JEGS.com and a 50-lap feature for the USA Modified Series.
More event information is available at www.toledospeedway.com or www.craracing.net.
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Scott “Woody” Woodruff
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