There’s nothing like a busy week, in this case a stretch featuring a pair of races in the span of just two days, to help a young driver speed up his learning curve.
It’s exactly what Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Cody Coughlin is looking at, as the 18-year-old, with last Friday’s 11th-place showing in Indianapolis firmly in his rear view mirror, will be competing in two different cars at two different race tracks in two different states later this week.
His marathon slate will start with the ARCA Racing Series Modspace 125 at Pocono Raceway (PA) on Friday afternoon before coming to a close at Columbus Motor Speedway for the ARCA/CRA Super Series JEGS Bud St. Amant 174 on Saturday night.
Coughlin is confident heading into Pocono, where he notched a ninth-place finish when he last navigated the “Tricky Triangle” back in June.
“We ran pretty well there during our first trip to Pocono,” Coughlin said. “We’ve made some great strides on the car since we were there in June and I believe we’ll be able to contend the same way we were able to at Chicagoland.
“The last time we were there (at Pocono), we got caught up on a late race restart and that kind of bobbled us up a bit. I think if we just do everything we know how to do and can keep our nose clean, I think we’ll be in a good position at the end of the day. We did it at Chicagoland at a place I had never seen before, so I’d like to think we’d be even better at a place I have seen and have experience racing at.”
Veteran ARCA Racing Series crew chief Dave Leiner will be calling the shots for the No. 55 team at Pocono — someone Coughlin has been making some serious strides with.
“Dave has brought a lot to the table,” Coughlin said. “He’s done some things with the bodies and some other things that have made me more comfortable. I have also changed seats, which has made me a lot more comfortable in the racecar. With the amount of experience Dave has, as well as the experience I’m getting behind the wheel, I think we’re really starting to mesh and good things are happening.”
Following the conclusion of the ARCA Racing Series Modspace 125 on Friday night, Coughlin will hop in a plane and return to his home state of Ohio to race a Super Late Model in front of his hometown fans at Columbus Motor Speedway.
Coughlin recorded fast time in the lone practice session for the ARCA/CRA Super Series JEGS Bud St. Amant 174 on June 28 before rain showers postponed the event until this Saturday.
With a fast car underneath him, and the support of his family and friends, Coughlin is confident in his chances of winning the race in St. Amant’s (the father of Gary St. Amant, who served as Coughlin’s first driver coach, crew chief and mentor) memory.
“I’m really looking forward to returning back to Ohio on Saturday to race close to home,” Coughlin said. “It’s always great when you can go out to a race track and race in front of your hometown fans. Having this race held in memory of Bud St. Amant means a lot to my family. We’re just going to go dig and try to win it.”
Live coverage of all of this week’s ARCA Racing Series events and Saturday’s ARCA/CRA Super Series JEGS Bud St. Amant 174 can be found on Speed51.com. The Modspace 125 will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 5pm ET.
Teamjegs.com contributed to this report.