OVID, Mich. (Sept. 4) – JEGS Chevrolet driver Cody Coughlin brought home another top-five finish after an eventful Saturday night in the Big O Classic 100 presented by JEGS.com at Owosso Speedway.
Coughlin qualified third for the 100-lap JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race, slipped back to 10th, rallied to second, and was nearly spun off the track before finishing fifth.
“A top-five is definitely not bad at all,” the 15-year-old Coughlin said.
The finish was Coughlin’s fourth top-10 in a row and his second top-five in the last three races.
“We fell back to 10th in the middle of the race and then worked our way all the way back up to second,” Coughlin said. “Then I got run off the road because there’s no wall on the backstretch. I got it completely sideways but thankfully saved it, and we ended up finishing fifth.
“It was a decent night. Sure, we could have finished higher, but fifth is a lot better than it could have been considering how far off the track and how sideways we got. To get a top-five, it’s a pretty good comeback.”
Coughlin started the weekend by posting the fifth-fastest lap in practice at the 3/8ths-mile track with a speed of 84.719 mph. He then qualified third at 86.091 mph in the No. 1 Chevrolet, starting there after the top five qualifiers had their starting positions inverted for the race.
“It ran good for about 10 laps in the beginning of the race,” Coughlin said. “I was holding my own with the top guys, but then it got really loose on exit and tight in the center of the corner throughout the whole race.”
Coughlin and the JEGS team weren’t really sure why the car started handling the way it did, but Coughlin didn’t give up.
“We tried running the bottom,” Coughlin said of the turns at Owosso. “We thought that’s where our car would be good for the whole race, but the high side was the place to be for everybody, no matter how your car was handling. I think we might have abused the tires a little bit on the bottom, but we learned a lot for the next time.
“I’m proud of everybody on the team for giving me a car I could drive back through the field.”
Coughlin continued to race hard, coming back through the field to run second late in the race. But while battling with another car with nine laps remaining, Coughlin was nearly taken out off Turn 2.
“We were battling side-by-side,” Coughlin said. “He got a run off the corner, but I was still on his quarterpanel; he was definitely not clear. I got run off the road a little bit. I don’t know what I could’ve done any different there.
“We got four wheels off the track in the dirt. I got completely sideways and slid across the track and lost a few spots. Thankfully, I didn’t get hit.”
The caution flag didn’t wave, and Coughlin was relegated to fifth. With dirt and debris on his tires, though, Coughlin was able to hang on to that position at the checkered flag.
“I’ve got to thank the Lord for a safe race and for giving us this opportunity,” Coughlin said. “I had some family and friends there, so that was cool. I sure do appreciate my mom, dad and sister for supporting me in everything I do. Another good day.”
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