Late Model Debut Highlights Cody Coughlin's 2010 Season
Delaware, Dec. 29, 2010: Years from now, aspiring circle track racer Cody Coughlin will likely remember 2010 as the year where he too a big leap from the minor leagues of Quarter Midget racing to the big show as he took his first steps towards a career in Stock car racing by making his debut in a Late Model Stock Car. Beginning the season behind the wheel of his Quarter Midget, the 14-year old Coughlin quickly progressed and by August, the third-generation race found himself behind the wheel of a 420 horsepower Late Model Stock Car, racing against drivers more than twice his age. Coughlin quickly adjusted to the bigger, heavier, and much faster race car as he drove to a respectable 15th place finish in his debut at the Michigan 100 at Owosso Speedway in Ovid, Mich. A few weeks later, Coughlin also finished 17th the annual Icebreaker 100 in Lacrosse, Wis. At that event, Coughlin managed to avoid trouble and not only completed all 100 laps, but also finished on the lead lap.
“We spent most of the year testing so I could get used to the Late Model because it was a big step up from the Quarter Midget,” said Coughlin. “With the Late Model, it feels like you are driving a real car as opposed to the Quarter Midget, which was more like a tricycle in comparison. It took me a few races to get the hang of it but no I’m pretty comfortable.”
In order to help Cody complete a smooth transition to Late Model cars, the JEGS team has hired NASCAR driver Landon Cassill to join current JEGS car chief Gary St. Amant, as a coach and mentor. Kevin Harvick has also been involved in Cody's driver development program and he given tons of pointers along the way. The team recently added short track standout Rich Lushes as a crew chief. Lushes will oversee the entire circle track operation and is expected to make an immediate impact.
Landon Cassill recently drove the No. 7 JEGS entry to a pair of top five finishes in the Snowflake 100 and Snowball 300 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. A test session at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida helped convince Coughlin that his career was on the right track.
“The highlight of the year for me was that test session at New Smyrna,” said Coughlin. “I got to test with Landon and by the time we were done my lap times were really close to his. He’s got a lot of experience and he’s even won at that track a couple of times for it was really good for my confidence.”
Coughlin’s off-season will be brief as he plans to return to Florida in February for the annual Speedweeks events, which include some of the sport’s most prestigious Late Model events. He’s also looking to run a full season schedule of Late Model races closer to home.
“We’re planning on running all of the events we can close to home and maybe some extra events towards the end of the year,” said Coughlin. “We’re also looking to incorporate some longer events and some races that have pit stops so I can gain more experience. Hopefully, I can win a race or two and compete for the Rookie of the Year. That would be really awesome. Driving the Late Model is really great and we’re going to have a lot of fun next season.”
After producing three generations of championship winning drag racers, Cody is the first member of the Coughlin family to take up circle track racing and he’s fully aware that his progress is being followed closely by his family, friends, JEGS Mail Order associates and many others.
“I’ve been amazed at how many people are taking an interest in what we’re doing with this program,” said Coughlin. “It’s something totally new for me and the family and hopefully, we can also create a lot of opportunities from a business standpoint as well. Right now, I couldn’t be happier.”