WINCHESTER, Ind. (Oct. 13) – JEGS Chevrolet driver Cody Coughlin hopes to close out the 2011 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour on a winning note at this weekend’s W&M Manufacturing/Pier-Mac Plastics 100 presented by JEGS.com as part of the 40th annual Winchester 400 weekend at historic Winchester Speedway.
Coughlin leads the Howie Lettow Rookie of the Year standings and is sixth in the overall standings after a solid first season in the series. In 10 races, Coughlin has three top-five and six top-10 finishes while completing 827 of the season’s 1,000 laps.
The 15-year-old from Delaware, Ohio, also has one pole and five other starts in the top 10.
“I don’t want the season to end,” Coughlin said. “We’ve had a bunch of fun this year, hanging out with the guys and going to dinner and things like that. On track, we’ve had a pretty darn good rookie season. Hopefully, we can snag a top-five in points. That’s definitely our goal going into this weekend: To try to win the race and get to fifth in the points.
“I flat out don’t want it to end. It’s been a great season and a bunch of fun. But next season will come pretty fast.”
Since a crash in the season-opening race, Coughlin has been able to complete all but 73 laps, finishing on the lead lap seven times.
“Being able to finish most of the races and not being involved in hardly any wrecks is a cool deal,” Coughlin said. “Because of that, we got to finish a lot of laps and get some experience. It’s a nice surprise.
“I’ve learned a lot this year about being more comfortable in the car and dealing with everything you have to deal with as a race car driver. I’m pretty excited about next year.”
As Coughlin reflects on his first full season in a full-bodied stock car, his first thoughts turn to his family: his father, John; his mother, Di; and his sister, Kennedi.
“We get the joy of seeing my sister and my mom and dad at the race track – and occasionally my cousins, too,” Coughlin said. “We’ve had a bunch of support from everyone in my family, even though they haven’t made it to all the races. They’ve got busy schedules, but they still get on the computer and look to see how we did, and that means a lot.”
Coughlin had a solid performance at Winchester earlier this season, qualifying sixth and finishing sixth.
“Our performance was better than that in practice and at the beginning of the race,” Coughlin said. “We qualified in the top five and got up to second in the race. At one point, we were catching the leader. We just got a little bit too loose at the end and slipped back some. Considering we slipped back and still finished sixth, that’s not bad.”
And it gives Coughlin confidence for this weekend’s race.
“We know what we’re going to do with the car,” Coughlin said. “Crew chief Rich Lushes is going to get it tightened up for the race, and hopefully we’ll have a shot at the win.”
The JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour has two practices scheduled for Friday, at 2:30 and 4:55 p.m. EDT, with two more slated for Saturday, at 12:20 and 2:25 p.m. Qualifying is 4:05 p.m. Saturday, with the 100-lap race as part of Saturday night’s program that starts at 5 p.m. with other divisions.
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