The son of multi-time drag racing champion John Coughlin and grandson of NHRA Hall of Famer Jeg Coughlin Sr., Coughlin is set to race in the Michigan 100, which takes place Saturday, Aug. 7, on the 3/8-mile paved oval at “the Big O” — Owosso Speedway in Ovid, Mich.
Working under the guidance of veteran short-track racer Gary St. Amant (car chief and coach) and Clay Filson (crew chief), Coughlin began a two-day tune-up session at Dixie Motor Speedway in Birch Run, Mich..
“We unloaded at Dixie with some confidence because we have been there before,” Coughlin said. “Right away we were quicker than last time so that made me happy.
“Gary and I went out to do some lead-follow stuff. The last time we did that he would catch me every time. This time I was able to pass him and pull away, which made me feel really good. To be able to run away from a two-time ASA champion before you’ve even run a real race is awesome.”
As the test progressed, Coughlin began identifying different issues with his JEGS.com racecar and was able to relay his thoughts back to the crew, a sure sign he’s understanding all the dynamics of the 420-horsepower machine.
“At one point, the right front tire started going down and I was able to identify that on my own by the way the car was handling,” Coughlin said. “I think I’m starting to instinctively know that kind of stuff, like how the car reacts when different things happen. The tires were wearing evenly too, which tells us my driving was pretty smooth.”
After a full day in Birch Run, the team loaded up and made the drive to Ovid so Coughlin could memorize the track where he will soon make his professional debut.
“Owosso is an older track and it’s hard on tires,” Coughlin said. “I remember from last time we had a tougher time trying to keep the rear end from coming around. This time it was still trying sneak out from underneath me, but not as much.
“There was another car there so between our two cars and his I was able to race in a bit of traffic. We all stayed together in a pack and that was a great experience for me. I also worked on my lines going in and out of corners. I feel like we got pretty close to getting that down by the end of the day.
“I’m really excited on the progress we are making at all these tests and I am excited for our first race. My dad, my mom and my sister Kennedi have all been very supportive of what I am doing and that means the world to me.”
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