BIRCH RUN, Mich. – Cody Coughlin kicked down the door to victory lane in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Friday night, winning the Dixie 100 presented by JEGS.com at Dixie Motor Speedway.
“This is pretty awesome to be standing here after winning a race. We won earlier this year down at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida during Speedweeks in February, but this is the one I wanted to win the most, a JEGS/CRA race,” said Coughlin. “The team did a great job all weekend and they have all season for that matter. We’ve had fast cars all year, but just always seem to have had bad luck. But not tonight.”
After starting the night off by winning his first career Boyne Machine Fast Qualifier Award, the 17-year-old drew a four for an inversion which would place Brent Downey and Brandon Hermiller on the front row for the 100-lap main and they led the 26-car field to Chief Starter Scott Menlen’s green flag and it would be Hermiller beating Downey to the first corner to take the early lead while the rest of the field jockeyed for position behind them.
Hermiller, the 2012 Howie Lettow Memorial Rookie of the Year runner-up would get away from Downey and set a torrid early pace as the first 36 laps ran under green flag conditions before the first caution flew. On the restart, Hermiller again pulled away when Dan Leeck, who was running fourth, spun in front of the field after contact and mass chaos ensued with several cars on the receiving end of cosmetic damage.
When the green flew again, Jimmy Novak, who was the 2011 Howie Lettow Memorial Rookie of the Year Runner-Up, drove passed Cody Coughlin for third and then Downey for second. He kept on going and took the lead from Hermiller on lap 39.
Novak brought Josh Nelms, who was behind the wheel of the familiar No. 8 LisaThomasSalon.com Ford normally driven by Eddie Hoffman, the 2011 winner of this event, and the battle was on for the lead. They continued their battle until lap 70 when Coughlin made a daring three-wide pass of both drivers as they battled side by side to take the lead for the first time. A lap later, contact between Nelms and Novak sent both around and brought out the caution flag once more.
On the ensuing restart, Mike Stacy, driving the Howe Racing Enterprises house car that Robbie Pyle drove the race before at Columbus Motor Speedway on May 25, drove to the inside of Coughlin and he would grab the lead on lap 73. Landon Cling, driving the same car that 2012 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Champion, Daniel Hemric steered to victory lane in this race a year ago, also got by Coughlin that same lap to take over second spot.