NEW SMYRNA, Fla. (Nov. 20) – When a driver is just starting his racing career seat time is a precious commodity.
With a break in the fall schedule, Cody Coughlin took the opportunity to escape the chill in Ohio and slip down to New Smyra Speedway in Florida to test his late model stock car recently under the hand of 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year, Landon Cassill.
“It was fun to go to a relaxed environment at the track and just make laps and have fun,” Cassill said. “There is so much pressure on the line at what I do, so I love to kick back and do it the way I did it 5-6 years ago.”
Coughlin, who is 14, said learning from the 21-year-old Cassill was easy.
“It’s a good sign when a young guy is a good teacher,” Coughlin said. “When we got there, I was pretty happy with my performance, considering I had never been there before. I was only .3 seconds off of Landon’s lap times the first time out.
“By the time we were finished I was only .1 seconds off his fastest laps.”
Cassill said Coughlin was a quick study.
“Cody did a great job, he made great improvements, and was actually very close to the same lap times that I ran,” Cassill said. “I focused on showing him how to break the corner down into sections and give proper feedback to his crew chief. I think he has a lot of potential.”
Coughlin said Cassill gave him a lot of good information that he knows will help him down the road.
“On the computer he showed me my throttle response and braking,” Coughlin said. “He showed me how not so move the wheel so much through the corners so I don’t scrub speed off.”
Cassill said the mentoring session took him back to the days when he first started racing.
“It was very fun, especially to work with a driver that was so young, very close to the same age as I was when I started Late Model racing,” Cassill said. “I feel like I even learn things when I’m mentoring somebody like Cody.”
Cassill will be joining Team JEGS next month when he dons the yellow and black during the annual Snowflake 100 and Snowball Derby 300 Late Model race from Dec. 1-5 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.