@Cody_Coughlin is making yet another stride at furthering his racing career this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.
The 19-year-old driver will be making his second career start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 Toyota Tundra. His debut occured in July at Kentucky Speedway with Venturini Motorsports, though it wasn’t exactly the start he was looking for.
Persistent rain halted on track action for most of the weekend, forcing the Truck Series to race with no practice or qualifying. Coughlin had no previous experience in a truck, leaving him in a tough spot for the race. After rolling off 30th, he battled throughout the evening and managed to notch a 20th place finish.
It wasn’t an ideal situation for a driver who was looking to learn more about the trucks and gain experience for future races.
“It was certainly a tricky situation,” Coughlin told POPULAR SPEED. “We didn’t have practice or qualifying and I had never done a truck race before. You’ve got to set yourself up for high goals, but we did the best that we could and just tried our best and got what we could out of it.
“It was just kind of a shot in the dark with that whole thing because I’m not sure about why the thing was handling this way or if it was chassis related or if it was turbulence or what. There’s a lot of unknowns from that one, so that’s almost like a scratch. I’m looking at this Michigan one as my first start.”
He came away from Kentucky with some knowledge about how the trucks drive with their current aero package. The experience was much needed, but only so much can translate to a two-mile track like Michigan where the racing is tighter and some drafting will be utilized. He’s raced the track before in the ARCA series and is hoping that can translate over to the trucks this weekend.
“We had pretty good speed there in the ARCA car this last race; we just burnt up a fuel pump,” he said. “It was one of those freak things that we didn’t get to finish and didn’t get the result we deserve. I feel like I know what it takes to go fast around there, I think the team obviously knows how to go fast.”
Coughlin has been running a handful of races for Venturini Motorsports in the ARCA Series to gain more experience going forward. He’s proven to be competitive and has put himself in contention to win several times over the last two seasons though luck hasn’t always played out in his favor. The experience has been greatly beneficial to him, and he looks to apply some of the knowledge he’s gained and put it towards the Truck Series.
Many young drivers have more experienced racers that they can seek advice from, but none may have it better than Coughlin. The Joe Gibbs Racing development driver says he will be leaning on @KyleBusch going into the race, who has already been able to give him a tremendous amount of advice.
“Kyle is a very unique person in the sense that, obviously he has unique talent behind the wheel but his memory and his ability to explain things and break it down to someone who doesn’t have much experience, particularly on these big tracks,” Coughlin said. “He can break down an entire corner and an entire race for you so that you can pretty much know what to expect when you get in.
“He can also tell you what the truck needs to feel like for practice, what the race is gonna be like this time of year at Michigan. He’s got so much experience, it’s priceless. It’s a resource that is better than any I’ve ever experienced. I’m not talking about him as a resource, but at the same time he is a very good resource to use and is also a great guy too and a good friend.”
Everything seems to be in line for Coughlin to have a strong run this weekend and grab more experience behind the wheel going forward. He’s set high goals for himself but knows that he needs to be realistic given the experience he has.
“I think, providing I can learn how to do a lot of the drafting and aerodynamic things that it will take to run up front – pass cars at these big speedways with these trucks, as long as I learn that I don’t see why we can’t come away with a really strong finish,” he said. “I won’t put a number on it. Obviously we got there with the intent to win but it’s still pretty much my first or second start, so you have to be realistic about it.”
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