MARNE, Mich. (Sept. 8) – JEGS Chevrolet driver Cody Coughlin would love nothing more than to get a victory in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour before the 2011 season comes to a close.
Saturday’s Berlin 100 presented by JEGS.com at Berlin Raceway is the ninth of 11 races on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. And while Coughlin is close to his main goal of winning the Howie Lettow Rookie of the Year Award, he has another target to aim for in the interim — winning a race.
“For the next three races, getting a win is my top priority,” Coughlin said. “They don’t give out the rookie of the year award until the season is over but I can win a race this weekend. Winning rookie of the year would be great, and I hope it happens when all is said and done, but winning a race before then would be huge. I really want to do that before the year is out.”
Coughlin, 15, feels his JEGS team is up to the task, but claiming a victory on the All-Stars Tour takes a combination of talent, hard work, skill, timing and a little racing luck.
“It’s definitely harder to win in this series than some others,” Coughlin said. “Everything has to line up. You could have the fastest car, but you could come up on a lapped car that could put you in the wall by accident. Everything needs to line up.
“All the stars have been lining up but one for us this year – and that’s to win. We’ve gotten close a couple times but didn’t close it out. It’s definitely a challenge because everything has to go your way.”
Coughlin heads to Berlin, a 7/16ths-mile track, with some momentum. Coughlin finished fifth last weekend at Owosso Speedway for his fourth top-10 in a row and his second top-five in the last three races.
His first victory could come this weekend at Berlin.
“Because we’ve got such a good team, I thought we might have a victory before this point,” Coughlin said. “The competition on and off the race track is great. That’s what will make winning a race so rewarding for our team, our family and me. I can definitely feel it coming.”
In addition to leading the rookie of the year standings by a comfortable margin, Coughlin ranks eighth in the All-Stars Tour points standings. In a tight battle inside the top 10, Coughlin is only 20 points out of fifth and 90 points out of the lead.
Drivers began racing at Berlin Raceway in 1950. With its slight 13-degree banking in the turns, finesse is needed to negotiate the corners, and that’s a strong suit of Coughlin’s driving style.
“I think it does,” Coughlin said. “As a rookie, you might think you’d do better at a high-speed track where you can get on that gas hard, but I’ve gotten accustomed to cracking the throttle in the corners and being smooth. That’s kind of my driving style.”
Coughlin will have his parents, Di and John, and his sister Kennedi with him this weekend.
“Racing is a lot of fun, but it’s always more fun when you have family with you,” Coughlin said. “They make the harder days a little easier and definitely make the good days better. I hope for a really good day this weekend.”
Coughlin and the JEGS team will be part of open practice on Friday, with two regular practice sessions slated for Saturday. Qualifying starts at 6 p.m. Eastern Saturday, with the racing program starting at 7. The 100-lap JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event is part of Championship Night at the track for all the Berlin local divisions.
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