SCHERERVILLE, Ind. (July 14) — The JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour returns to Illiana Motor Speedway this Saturday for the fifth event of the 2011 season. Cody Coughlin, a 15-year-old driver from Delaware, Ohio, enters the rained-postponed race as the top rookie in the series and finds himself just four points out of the top 10 among all drivers.
“The season is going really well,” Coughlin said. “We’re making progress and I feel as though I’ve already learned so much. My crew chief Rich Lushes and driving coach Gary St. Amant have reminded me a million times to just approach each race as it’s own event, run as well as I can on that day, and try to become a better driver. We’re not focused on anything but having fun and learning, and so far that it’s working well for us.”
Coughlin has a slender six-point lead over Jimmy Novak III in the chase for the Howie Lettow Rookie of the Year award. He and Novak are also tied for 11th, along with Justin Matson, in the overall JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour championship points standings.
“It’s an honor to be the top rookie right now but we’re not really thinking about that stuff,” Coughlin said. “First of all, there’s a lot of racing left to be done, and secondly, if we do what we’re capable of doing each race, then that stuff takes care of itself.”
Illiana Motor Speedway is within easy driving distance of Coughlin’s hometown, so he will once again be joined at the event by his father John, his mother Di, and younger sister Kennedi, who is affectionately known as “Jelly.”
“Racing has always been a family activity for us,” Coughlin said. “When I was little I spent a lot of time with my dad at the drag races and he grew up helping my grandfather racing his cars. We’ve always done it as a group.
“It’s very important for me to have my mom and dad there and Jelly is my biggest fan. She discovered the different color Duct tape we keep in the hauler and she’s been doing all kinds of arts and crafts with it. She’s the one that keeps us all smiling.”
Pit gates open at 12:30 p.m., Saturday. Practice begins at 3 p.m., with qualifying scheduled for 5:45 p.m. The Illiana 100 presented by JEGS.com starts at 7 p.m.
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