WINCHESTER, Ind. (May 3) – One may think Cody Coughlin and the JEGS.com Chevrolet team are looking to bounce back from a disappointing start to the 2012 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour season, but that’s not how the 16-year-old Coughlin sees things.
Coughlin finished 27th after a rear end broke on the pace laps at Plymouth Speedway, the second year in a row he had a tough finish in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour season-opener.
“Last year, we had that hiccup,” Coughlin said. “We kept going and trying our best. This year, I’m going to go out on a limb and say we would’ve contended for the win at Plymouth if we wouldn’t have had that problem. The way I look it is, I don’t think we had a bad start to this year. I really think it’s a whole different season in that aspect.”
Coughlin qualified third at Plymouth and was one of the faster cars the entire weekend. For that reason, he’s confident heading into this Sunday’s Winchester 100 presented by JEGS.com at famed Winchester Speedway.
“I’m very excited to go to my favorite track,” Coughlin said. “I’m really not that disappointed about Plymouth besides our finish. We ran very strong, and that’s a good sign for the rest of the year because a track like Plymouth is very difficult, and you have to use quite a bit of brake and you’re always turning.
“When we go to some these bigger tracks like Winchester, I’m excited about that. Since we were fast at Plymouth, I think we’ll have a shot at the ‘W’ this weekend. “
Coughlin posted two top-10 finishes at the half-mile, high-banked track last year, including a fifth-place finish last October. Passing can be difficult at the circuit, given the similar horsepower of the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour cars. But Coughlin has an easy solution.
“You can fix that problem: Just stay out front,” Coughlin said. “That’s what we plan on doing this weekend. Hopefully, we can get the pole and stay out front. It’s my favorite track, and I feel very comfortable on it. I don’t see any reason why we can’t get a top-five, and hopefully a top-two or a win.”
Coughlin and the Butch VanDoorn-led team tested at Winchester on Wednesday, with Coughlin posting lap times close to last year’s pole winning lap – on old tires. Crew chief VanDoorn made adjustments to the No. 1 Chevy, and Coughlin made a long green-flag run that included fast, consistent laps.
He’s ready to make the most of his time on the track this weekend.
“If you figure out how to use all the race track, you can pass people on the bottom,” Coughlin said. “It’s a bit tougher than passing on the top, but since people run on the top, you don’t get the chance to pass much up there, unless it’s on a restart. Hopefully, we can start close to the front and stay there.
“The Lord has a plan for us so we’ll see what happens. I’m ready to race, and having my mom and dad and sister Kennedi there will make it special.”
Pits open at Winchester Saturday at 10 a.m. Eastern, with All-Stars practice slated for noon to 5 p.m.
On Sunday, the pits open at 8 a.m., with the drivers meeting slated for 9:45 a.m. The first JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour practice is at 10:30 a.m., with the second at 11:15. Qualifying begins at 1 p.m.