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MARTINSVILLE, VA - MARCH 23:  Cody Coughlin, driver of the #2 JEG's.com Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 23, 2018 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) | Getty Images
(Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

NOTEBOOK: Cody Coughlin returning to ARCA at Michigan for first time since 2015

Things are a lot different now for Cody Coughlin compared to the last time he raced in the ARCA Menards Series.

The driver from Delaware, Ohio, last competed on the ARCA platform in 2015 and is set for his return to the series this Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway for the Henry Ford Health 200 (6:30 p.m. ET on MAVTV/FloRacing).

Back in 2015, Coughlin was a rising star looking to break into NASCAR’s upper ranks. His 17 ARCA starts spread across the 2014 and ’15 seasons for Venturini Motorsports eventually led him to an opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where he made 53 starts spread across four seasons for a variety of teams.

Success in the Truck Series was limited for Coughlin and, after making 18 starts during the 2018 season for GMS Racing, he stepped aside in order to focus on other opportunities.

ARCA at Michigan: Entry list | Complete event schedule

Those other opportunities included real estate ventures that led to the creation of the Cody Coughlin Company, which focuses on high-end residential real estate development.

While he’s certainly been busy, that doesn’t mean Coughlin has given up racing. He simply decided to return to his roots, instead.

Prior to his time in NASCAR and his real estate endeavors, Coughlin was a regular face in the Midwestern asphalt Late Model scene. He captured two championships in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour in 2013 and ’16, as well as a championship in the companion ARCA/CRA Super Series in 2016.

Once he stepped away from NASCAR in 2018, Coughlin shifted his racing efforts back to Late Model racing.

He collected his third JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour championship in 2020 and backed it up with his fourth series championship last year. In each of those seasons, he earned three victories at a variety of tracks, including Tennessee’s Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, Pennsylvania’s Jennerstown Speedway and Indiana’s Anderson Speedway.

Now he’s set for his first ARCA Menards Series start since 2015 this Saturday at Michigan, and he’ll do so aboard the No. 72 Ford fielded by the same family team that fields his Late Models.

While Coughlin has never won in ARCA competition, he’s had a few close calls. His closest was at Talladega Superspeedway in 2015. He started from the pole that day driving for Venturini Motorsports, led 11 laps and ultimately finished second behind winner Blake Jones.

Bret Holmes back in the saddle

Bret Holmes, driver of the #23 Golden Eagle Syrup Chevrolet during the Speediatrics 150 for the ARCA Menards Series at Kansas Speedway on Friday, October 16, 2020. (Barry Cantrell/ARCA Racing)
Bret Holmes is set to make his second ARCA Menards Series start of the season this Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo: Barry Cantrell/ARCA Racing)

Bret Holmes, the 2020 ARCA Menards Series champion, is taking his owner hat off and putting his racing helmet back on.

The driver from Munford, Alabama, will make his second ARCA Menards Series start of the season Saturday afternoon when he climbs aboard his own Bret Holmes Racing No. 23 Chevrolet at Michigan International Speedway.

Holmes’ only other ARCA start this year came in the opener at Daytona International Speedway, where he started 16th and finished second behind race winner Corey Heim.

While Holmes hasn’t competed since Daytona, the Bret Holmes Racing team has.

Connor Mosack has driven the No. 23 Chevrolet in six races so far this season and has performed well, earning top-1o finishes in each outing. His best finish so far for the team came at Iowa Speedway, where he finished a career-best third.

With Holmes back behind the wheel this week, the team will look to earn a trip to Victory Lane for the first time this season.

Holmes has raced at Michigan in ARCA competition four times, with three of those races resulting in top-five finishes. Holmes’ best Michigan finish came in 2020, when he finished second after leading 61 laps.

Corey Heim looking for another checkered flag

It’s been a moment since Corey Heim last raced in the ARCA Menards Series.

Heim, who won the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway in February, made his most recent ARCA Menards Series start in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway to the tune of a runner-up finish.

He’s kept himself pretty busy since then by winning his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race of the season at Gateway Motorsports Park while driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, as well as the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 Late Model race at South Boston Speedway on July 2.

Now Heim returns to ARCA for the fifth of six scheduled starts for Venturini Motorsports aboard the No. 20 JBL Toyota.

In 40 previous ARCA Menards Series starts, Heim has visited Victory Lane on eight occasions. He has just one start at Michigan in ARCA competition, which netted him a runner-up result last season to eventual ARCA Menards Series champion Ty Gibbs.

NOTES:

  • Jeffrey MacZink returns to ARCA Menards Series competition Saturday as he looks to make his ninth series start. His most recent start was at Michigan last year, which resulted in his career-best finish of ninth.
  • Michigan native Scott Melton returns for his second start following his return from injury in a crash at Talladega Superspeedway. In his return to action at Pocono Raceway last month, Melton earned an 11th-place finish.
  • Speaking of Michigan natives, there are three drivers from the Great Lakes State entered in Saturday’s event. They include Melton, Brad Smith and Morgen Baird.