PLYMOUTH, Ind. (April 22) – The season-opening JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race ended in heartbreak for driver Cody Coughlin.

Coughlin suffered a broken rear end while warming up the car on the pace laps of the Eric Saunders: I Can I Will 100. The crew replaced the rear end, and Coughlin eventually made it back on track, but he was several laps down.

Eventually, Coughlin was told by race officials not to battle for position, and with no more positions to be made up, crew chief Butch VanDoorn made the decision to bring Coughlin off the race track. He was scored in 27th place.

“This is a tough one to swallow,” Coughlin said. “We had a fast Chevrolet, but we never got to show it in the race. I know the Lord works in mysterious ways, so I’ll just trust him that he knows what’s best for us.”

Coughlin overcame brake issues to qualify the No. 1 Chevrolet in third with a lap of 102.002 mph. He was due to start fourth in the 100-lap feature after the top six qualifiers had their positions inverted. But as soon as Coughlin began shaking the car down on the pace laps, he felt a vibration. An initial trip to the pits did not uncover the source of the problem, so Coughlin went back out.

However, the vibration didn’t go away, so VanDoorn ordered a change of rear ends. The crew accomplished the task in about 40 minutes, and Coughlin started the race 39 laps down. He immediately chased down the rear of the field after hanging back on a restart, but race officials soon ordered him not to pass cars on the lead lap.

Coughlin stayed at the rear of the field until the next caution, when he pulled the car to the hauler.

“I hate it for Cody and all the guys,” VanDoorn said. “They all worked their butts off working on the brakes in the morning, and Cody was bad fast in qualifying. We really thought we had something for the race, but something went wrong in the rear end. It happens sometimes, but it doesn’t make it easier on anyone. We’ll just figure out what went wrong so it won’t happen again, and we’ll be ready for Winchester.”

The next race on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour schedule occurs May 6 with the Winchester 100 present by JEGS at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway. Coughlin finished fifth and sixth in the two races at Winchester in 2011.

“We aren’t giving up,” said Coughlin, who also had trouble in the season-opener last year. “We’ll just have to push a little harder now, but these guys are capable of it. God has blessed us all to be able to do this, and I’m so thankful my family was here for me. In addition to my mom and dad and my sister, I had some other family here, too. I just wish they had gotten a chance to see us do better.”


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