NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — Cody Coughlin and the JEGS.com Chevrolet team kick off their 2012 season this week when they take on the 46th annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway.
Run in conjunction with NASCAR’s Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, the World Series features eight nights of racing, with the country’s top short-track racers competing against one another for big money and bragging rights.
Coughlin, who tested at New Smyrna last week, will race his No. 1 JEGS.com Chevrolet in the Pro Late Model category, one of several classes which will be contested at the half-mile track 12 miles from Daytona.
“My goals are, one, to have fun, and, two, I honestly think we’re going to have a shot at winning a couple of the races down there,” Coughlin said. “Our test session was phenomenal — everybody worked really well together, everybody’s attitude was great, and the car drove well, too. The driver was happy, the crew chief was happy, everybody else involved was happy, so I think we’ll be a threat for a couple wins.”
Coughlin, 16, is the defending Howie Littow Rookie of the Year Award winner in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. Last season was his first full year in a full-bodied stock car, and he continues to learn and improve. Coughlin has a new crew chief this season, Butch VanDoorn, who won the JEGS/CRA All-Stars championship with driver Erik Jones in 2011.
Racing at New Smyrna kicks off Friday, when Coughlin and VanDoorn will work together in a race for the first time.
“It’ll be fun, for sure,” Coughlin said. “We’ve been talking about it a lot in the off-season, and we’re all excited to race. Now, the time is ripe to go out and have some fun. I think we’re going to have great chemistry, and I hope it’ll be a nice working relationship for a lot of years to come.”
Coughlin is prepared to race in every Pro Late Model event at New Smyrna, but the team could elect to take a race or two off. Still, Coughlin aims to go to Victory Lane.
“It would mean a lot to get a victory anywhere and any time,” Coughlin said. “I’m a very competitive person and like to win at everything I do. But down there, some of the NASCAR guys come over and check out the short track stuff, so it’d be cool to be able to win in front of them. And to be able to say you won in the Daytona area would be cool, too. It would definitely be a huge honor to get a World Series trophy.”
Coughlin and the JEGS.com team are bringing two Chevrolets for the week of racing.
“I got to meet some pretty cool racers down there last year, and I haven’t seen them in a while, so that will be neat to see them again,” Coughlin said. “I’m so thankful for the opportunities the Lord has given me, and I look forward to serving Him through the way I race this year. I’m glad my mom, dad and sister Kennedi will be with me, too, because their support is always great for me.”