Cody Coughlin, 14, hoping for Oktoberfest victory
WEST SALEN, Oct. 6, 2010: Cody Coughlin had an interesting answer for the longtime back-to-school question "What did you do this summer?" as the 14-year-old son of multi-time drag racing champion John Coughlin was able to answer "Turned pro."
A past champion in USAC's Heavy Mod division, Coughlin moved to the ASA Late Model Northern Series this summer and has since competed at two national events alongside drivers old enough to be his grandfather. Piloting a full-bodied Chevrolet Impala stock car emblazoned with JEGS.com logos, Coughlin debuted with a solid 15th-place finish on Aug. 7 before wrecking out of his second 100-lap contest on Aug. 20.
Now a fraction older and infinitely wiser, Coughlin will be back in action this weekend at the 41st annual Oktoberfest 100, racing around the half-mile, progressively-banked paved oval at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway.
"This is the biggest race of the year in this series and we're excited to get there," Coughlin said. "We actually tested at the track recently and it went really well so there shouldn't be any surprises for me.
"Our first race went really well but I probably got a little cocky in the second race and didn't drive as smartly as I should have. There was a storm coming in and (race officials) were pushing the action. The track got cold and my car got loose and just got out from under me. Lesson learned."
Coughlin analyzed his mistakes for a day or two before some advice from NASCAR superstar and JEGS.com Racing teammate Kevin Harvick refocused his thoughts to this weekend's event.
"He said not to get frustrated because I just got started in Late Models," Coughlin said of Harvick. "He was saying it took him a year at this level before he started figuring it out. It made me feel a lot better."
The 41st annual Oktoberfest 100 in a four-day event featuring 20 different classes of racing. Coughlin's race is scheduled for Saturday evening.
"They told me to prepare for a huge crowd and lots of people partying and having a good time," Coughlin said. "I plan on staying focused on what I need to do and saving my celebrations for after the race."
Race fans can keep up with the action as it happens at www.oktoberfestraceweekend.com.