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WINCHESTER, IN – Back in 2014, Cody Coughlin led all 100 laps in a dominant performance to earn his first-career ARCA/CRA Super Series win at Winchester Speedway.

Two years later, another win at Winchester may have just sewn up Coughlin’s first series championship.

Coughlin survived mid-race attrition and worked his way around Dalton Sargeant after contact on a late restart to take the victory in Monday’s ARCA/CRA Super Series 100 at Winchester, his fourth Super Series victory of 2016. The Ohioan, who also took fast time in Sunday’s qualifying session before a six-car invert, also earned max points to bolster his championship lead over Dalton Armstrong.

“Dalton (Sargeant) was strong all day. I didn’t mean to get into him on the restart, but it’s Winchester and you want to go hard.” Coughlin said. “There were some good cars, so I’m thankful we were able to (win).”

While Coughlin ultimately took the victory, it was Sargeant that paced the field for much of the day. Starting on the pole, Sargeant muscled ahead of second-place Zane Smith to gain a lead he wouldn’t relinquish for the opening 70 laps of the race.

Sargeant ultimately finished second after being passed, 2.440 seconds off-pace.

“I feel like we burned our stuff up a bit trying to hold off (Armstrong) and (Donnie Wilson),” Sargeant said. “Cody was able to sit back and ride a little bit, so I think that helped him out at the end. I was starting to lose some drive.”

Travis Braden made the most of a quiet, clean race to take third, an effort he was proud of after being hindered by power issues. Braden hopes to parlay the things he learned into a victory in October’s Winchester 400.

“You come here to try to win, but you’re more or less trying to learn what you need for October,” Braden said. “We learned plenty, we were just a little bit off. (Coughlin and Sargeant) were pretty secure. I was really neutral. I couldn’t charge the corners very well without having to hold the steering wheel straight on entry, and the center of the corner was pretty much gone at that point.

“We were running like 235 (degree) water temp. It seemed like they were pulling us on the straightaway because of that loss of power. A few things to address when we come back.”

Multiple competitors saw their days ended or hurt by a slew of mid-race cautions. Smith’s afternoon came to an early end after a crash on lap 21. Donnie Wilson contended for the lead early on, only to have his day end against the outside wall on lap 37. Kyle Busch Motorsports prospect Todd Gilliland surged from 16th into the top five –rising as high as second at one stage– but was undone by a late crash that also led to damage for Tyler Ankrum and Scott Hantz.

The most important crash of the day, however, was Armstrong. Running inside of the top five, Armstrong was battling with Coughlin and Gilliland midway through the 100-lap event when contact with Gilliland sent his No. 4 Ford spinning on the backstretch.

Armstrong, who entered the weekend trailing eventual winner Coughlin by 13 points, continued on with minor damage, but would spend the rest of the day playing damage control as he rallied to a fourth-place finish.

“The No. 51 (Gilliland) got up into the wall and came down on us,” Armstrong said. “Luckily we didn’t hit anything. I don’t know how I didn’t hit anything on that wreck, but we had a tire going down, and a hub going out, so to battle back too fourth is a decent finish for a pretty bad day.”

Hantz overcame his early crash to round out the top five, with Ankrum, Wes Griffith, Jr., Hunter Jack, Eddie VanMeter and Fred Hopkins completing the top 10.

Only 11 of 22 cars made it to the finish of the 50-mile event, with 10 drivers finishing on the lead lap. Jack Dossey III made his way back onto the racing surface after repairs from an early incident to finish in 11th, two laps down.

The ARCA/CRA Super Series will return on Sept. 25, when the series heads to Lucas Oil Raceway as part of the Brownsburg, Indiana track’s Fall Brawl.

Results

  1. Cody Coughlin
  2. Dalton Sargeant
  3. Travis Braden
  4. Dalton Armstrong
  5. Scott Hantz
  6. Tyler Ankrum
  7. Wes Griffith, Jr.
  8. Hunter Jack
  9. Eddie VanMeter
  10. Fred Hopkins
  11. Jack Dossey III
  12. Rick Turner
  13. Jeff Fultz
  14. Todd Gilliland
  15. Terry Fisher
  16. Jon Beach
  17. Donnie Wilson
  18. Tristan Van Wieringen
  19. Zane Smith
  20. Joey Mucciacciaro
  21. Mason Mingus
  22. Justin Alsip

Aaron Bearden is a contributing writer for Short Track Scene. Having grown up watching NASCAR and IndyCar, Bearden began following short track racing during his high school years before starting a blog about racing in college. A writer for Frontstretch and Motorsports Tribune, Bearden also covers NASCAR, IndyCar and other forms of open wheel racing.

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