Date: February 24, 2018
Event: Active Pest Control 200 benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (Round 2 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Location: Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway (1.54-mile)
Start/Finish: 8th/20th (Running, completed 133 of 134 laps)
FOR CODY COUGHLIN, ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY WAS ABOUT BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
Coughlin Relegated to a 20th-place Finish at Atlanta
STATESVILLE, N.C. (February 25, 2018)—Cody Coughlin ran solidly in the top-15 for most of Saturday's Active Pest Control 200 benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., and was at a race-high of fourth-place on Lap 6 before a tire issue during the final laps of the event slowed down his No. 2 JEGS Chevrolet Silverado and thwarted his team's march to a top-10 result. Coughlin was relegated to a 20th-place finish in his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at the 1.54-mile oval.
This result was not driven by performance, as Coughlin was fast all weekend; he set the eighth-fastest lap in qualifying for the scheduled 130-lap race, turning a lap of 31.086 seconds at 178.344 mph in the final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying round on Saturday.
At the drop of the green flag, Coughlin showed just how strong his No. 2 JEGS Chevrolet Silverado was by passing an entry before the first caution for a spin in Turn 2. By Lap 6 Coughlin was scored in the fourth-place, a race high, and at the end of the Stage 1 conclusion, Lap 40, Coughlin was scored in the 11th-place. The 22-year old radioed to crew chief Jerry Baxter that his yellow and black machine was tight center-off, and under caution, he pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments and returned to the track in eighth place for the restart.
As the run progressed, Coughlin battled a tight-handling Chevrolet Silverado on exit, but the Delaware, Ohio, native, continued to run inside the top-10. On Lap 60 the caution flag waved for debris on the backstretch with Coughlin scored in the tenth-place. While in the 13th-place Coughlin suspected an issue with his right-front tire on Lap 74, but was able to fight through the tire issue and stayed on track to finish Stage Two. on Lap 80, in the 15th-place Under caution on Lap 81, Coughlin came to pit road for service for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. An issue during the pit stop forced Baxter to call Coughlin to pit road again, to top-off on fuel and additional adjustments, regulating him to restart in the 19th-place.
Over the course of the next run, Coughlin was able to build momentum to fun his fastest lap of the race on Lap 88, and by Lap 92 Coughlin was scored in the top-15, and was quickly working his way through traffic, picking off an additional spot.
With just over 10 laps remaining, Coughlin radioed his crew that he had a right-front tire issue, again. He was able to nurse the tire and maintain position until he was called to pit road on Lap 124 under green-flag conditions initially for two right side tires. An untimely caution flag waved while he was on pit road, so Baxter made the quick decision to change four tires on the No. 2 JEGS Chevrolet Silverado. Coughlin received a pit road penalty for speeding entering the pits, which placed him on the tail-end of the trucks one lap down. With a green-white-checkered finish to end the race, Coughlin was scored with a 20th-place finish.
“Our GMS Racing team had a fast No. 2 JEGS Chevrolet Silverado at the beginning of the scheduled 130-lap event,” Coughlin said. “The No. 2 JEGS Chevrolet Silverado got tighter and tighter handling as we progressed throughout the event. In addition, we had two separate tire issues that ended our competitive night. The last tire issue happening with only a few laps to go, unable to battle back, was just bad luck. The speed the JEGS team showed though has me optimistic for when our luck does turn around.”
After only the second event of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Coughlin crew chief Baxter’s bond has strengthened tremendously as the driver and crew chief develop a team platform bent on success as he enters his first year with GMS Racing. In addition to the continued learning process in his second full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Coughlin has been building relationships with the people who will work on his Chevrolet Silverado all season.
“I couldn’t be more proud of him (Coughlin) over the past two days at the Atlanta Motor Speedway,” Baxter said. “He has learned more about where to drive, and how to run different grooves of the track than he has ever.
“It is pretty cool to see the quick progress,” Baxter said. “We will continue to work hard on him. Throughout the night he ran high, low – and everything in between. Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is not easy, but today he passed competitors – even veterans. He did not just follow. During the race he was methodically contemplating what to make his No. 2 JEGS Chevrolet Silverado better. Those are all positive take-a-ways from this weekend.
“He is making huge progress.”
The next event on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule is the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on Friday, March 2, at the Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in Las Vegas. The FS1 and Motor Racing Network (MRN) will broadcast the race starting at 9:00 p.m. (ET).