DELAWARE, Ohio (Dec. 23) — Ben “Butch” VanDoorn, winner of three consecutive CRA championships by the young age of 19, has been named crew chief for JEGS.com Chevrolet driver Cody Coughlin for the 2012 season.
VanDoorn won the JEGS CRA All-Stars Tour championship as crew chief for Erik Jones in 2011, and tuned his brother John to back-to-back titles in the ARCA/CRA Super Series Championship in 2009-10.
Now, VanDoorn returns to the JEGS CRA All-Stars Tour with defending Howie Lettow Rookie of the Year winner Coughlin racing for the overall series championship.
“I’d like to continue this streak with Cody,” VanDoorn said. “We’ve got the equipment and everything lined up. I’d like to get some poles, some top-fives, some solid finishes every race and finish every lap to win that championship.”
That’s Coughlin’s goal, too.
“We’ll have a shot at the championship, for sure,” Coughlin said. “I think we’ll have a shot at a lot of wins. I’m just really, really excited. He’s a great guy. My family likes him, I like him. He’s an honest guy, and I’m really excited to work with him.”
The pairing of Coughlin and VanDoorn brings together two rising stars in the sport at a young age, as Coughlin turned 16 on December 11.
“I think he’s the best,” Coughlin said. “He’s really close to my age, so I’ll work well with him. His resume at 19 years old is already better than most, so I’m super excited.”
Said VanDoorn, “I’ve always worked with younger drivers, and it’s always worked really well because with the technology in the sport, we think the same way. We’re so close in age we can relate to each other. Even if you combine our ages, we’re younger than most of the drivers out there.
“I can help him out, not only in racing situations but also life situations. I can be his coach, his mentor, his crew chief. It’s going to be pretty special.”
Coughlin had a solid first season in the JEGS CRA All-Stars Tour, generating four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in the series’ 11 races. He and VanDoorn hope for more in 2012.
“He’s got a lot of potential,” VanDoorn said. “He comes from a racing family, though it was drag racing, so the bar is set high for him. Last year being his first year in a car, he did real well. He’s impressed me at a lot of different tracks.”
VanDoorn, of Coopersville, Mich., will make the move to Ohio to work with the JEGS.com race team beginning in January.
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