Confidence was high at Michigan International Speedway this weekend for Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Cody Coughlin.
Coughlin was fast in “race-runs” during practice on Thursday and that led the Venturini Motorsports team to believe the 19-year-old driver had a great shot at victory when the Corrigan Oil 200 took the green flag Friday in Brooklyn, Michigan, for the ARCA Racing Series. Unfortunately for Coughlin and the team, a fuel pump issue relegated the teen to a 14th-place finish.
While charging to the front of the field, the issue began near the midpoint of the race. Coughlin was forced to relinquish his sixth place spot and make a pitstop for the team to change the fuel pump during a green flag run. The time to make the change put Coughlin seven laps down. It was the second time in as many days that the number-55 car suffered the same fuel pump problem.
“Things didn’t go as we’d hoped they would, but there were still positives,” said Coughlin, who has six top-10 and four top-five finishes with a pole award in the last eight ARCA races. “I learned a lot about how to run this race track and I should be better here the next time I come back. My spotter, Scott Wimmer, and I worked hard throughout the weekend and the race to learn the right line to take, as well as how to set someone up for a pass, which are both things that will help me in the future.”
After the pitstop, Coughlin continued to run hard for the remainder of Friday’s race to help his race team add to their notebook moving forward.
“My crew chief, Dave Leiner, said he gained a lot of information on this chassis and what to do when we get to Chicago next weekend, so I’m really happy about that,” Coughlin said.
Coughlin had his parents, John and Di, at the racetrack on Friday to cheer him on, as well as many friends and family since Michigan is only a few hours away from his hometown of Delaware, Ohio.
“I love racing in front of friends and family, but I just wish we could have had a better result,” said Coughlin. “But the big thing is the Lord kept us safe today. I’m fortunate to have people like Kevin Hamlin (Team Manager) and Dave Holt (crewmember), so now we’ll all move on to Chicago and look for a strong finish there.”
Coughlin finished fifth at Chicagoland Speedway in his one start at the 1.5-mile track last year, so now he’s hoping he can find similar success in the Windy City when the ARCA Racing Series visits it Saturday.
Teamjegs.com contributed to this report.