DELAWARE, OH – In what could be described as the epitome of NHRA drag racing’s next generation moving to the forefront, Troy Coughlin Jr. will become the lead driver for Team JEGS in 2021 and beyond, driving the JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro tuned by Rickie Jones.
Just one year after the inception of the Pro Stock class 50 years ago, JEGS Automotive joined the battle with company founder Jeg Coughlin Sr. grinding gears in his JEGS-sponsored car. Troy Coughlin Sr., one of Jeg Sr.’s four sons who now own and operate JEGS, was next to contest the factory hot rod class, running various yellow-and-black hot rods from 1994-2004. Then came Jeg Coughlin Jr., who won five world titles and 65 races in the class during a 24-year professional career.
Now it’s Troy Jr.’s turn to carry on the tradition set forth by his grandfather, dad and uncle, driving the same RJ Racecars Camaro owned by Mark Stockseth that Jeg Jr. drove to three wins this past season.
“Competing in Pro Stock is who we are,” Troy Jr. said. “My dad, his dad, my uncle Jeg, it’s a pretty incredible legacy to follow and I couldn’t be more humbled and honored to move it forward.
LAS VEGAS – Third-generation driver Troy Coughlin Jr. concluded his first year in the Pro Stock class Sunday with a quarterfinal finish at the 20th annual Dodge NHRA Finals. Coughlin trounced Chris McGaha in the opening round of action at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before dropping a nail-biter to newly re-crowned world champion Erica Enders in Round 2.
“I’m very grateful for the incredible opportunity I’ve had to race with Elite Motorsports this year,” Coughlin said. “This is such a class organization with the best crewmen in the sport and it’s no surprise to me to see the team win another Pro Stock championship. Congrats to everyone, especially Erica Enders and her guys, and thank you for letting me be a part of it all.”
After winning back-to-back Top Alcohol Dragster regional championships in the last two seasons, Coughlin moved to Pro Stock this year to race alongside his uncle Jeg Coughlin Jr., who retired from full-time competition at the conclusion of Sunday’s race. Prior to his successful stint in Top Alcohol Dragster, Coughlin raced in Top Fuel, Pro Mod, Top Dragster and Junior Dragster. Even while racing Pro Stock this year, he continues to compete in Super Comp and Super Gas and at various E.T. Bracket events.
LAS VEGAS – Poker players in Las Vegas like to say all they need to win is a chip and chair. Less than two rounds off the championship lead entering a race that awards points and a half, five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. has more than a single chip to throw in the pot, but in true Glitter Gulch style he still wouldn’t mind a visit from Lady Luck at this weekend’s 20th annual Dodge NHRA Finals.
“This is a final hurrah in many respects,” said Coughlin, who will retire from full-time competition after this event. “There are three of us in the hunt for this championship, two from Elite Motorsports with Erica (Enders) and myself, and I know how much we’d all love to close out with a bang.
“Having two horses in the race is a real credit to everyone at Elite. Richard Freeman (team owner) has put together an incredible group of the very best mechanics, crew chiefs and engine builders in the sport. Hopefully we can finish 1-2 again. Obviously, if you talk to me, I want to be the champ, and if you talk to Erica, she’s anxious to win it as well, but we also root for each other. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Both Coughlin and Line find themselves 55 points in arrears to Enders, the reigning and three-time series champion. NHRA officials decided to up the drama by awarding points and a half in Vegas, so there are multiple scenarios where Coughlin can regain the points lead he held earlier this season.
HOUSTON – A strong runner-up result at Sunday’s 33rd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil lifted five-time Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. into a tie for second place with Jason Line, just 55 markers behind leader Erica Enders. There is only one race left, but since it awards points and a half, Coughlin is still very much alive in the title chase.
“We’re definitely giving it a go in these late stages of the season,” Coughlin said. “We made up some good ground today and, of course, we wanted to capitalize a little more there in the final but we had some mechanical issues that prevented us from turning on a fourth win light.”
The points could have been even better for Coughlin if he had pulled off his 66th career victory but his JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro stalled a few times as he warmed up for a tense final-round race against Aaron Stanfield. Nevertheless, Coughlin left first on his young rival but ultimately didn’t have enough for Stanfield’s 6.535 at 211.03 mph, crossing himself in 6.611 at 207.53 mph.
Troy Coughlin Jr. welcomes new sponsor BENMIT
HOUSTON – It wasn’t that long ago that five-time Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. was in full control of the factory hot rod class. He raced to three finals in the first four races, winning twice, and was more than two rounds ahead of Jason Line and almost four rounds up on his Elite Motorsports teammate Erica Enders.
But with only 10 races on the COVID-shortened 2020 NHRA schedule, slip-ups can reverse one’s fortunes in short order, as Coughlin discovered after two unlikely first-round exits, which helped flip the table in the standings. He now trails Enders by four and a half rounds and Line by three.
“We need a perfect scorecard from here on out to even have a glimpse of hope,” Coughlin admitted. “Fortunately, we made a lot of progress in Dallas and the final two races left on the schedule both take place at tracks where we have historically done very well so we feel good about finishing strong.
ENNIS, TX – Five-time Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. managed to keep his title hopes alive Sunday at the 35th annual AAA NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex by beating Jason Line in the quarterfinals and advancing to the final four in his JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro.
Line entered the weekend as the class points leader but dropped to second Saturday when Coughlin’s Elite Motorsports teammate Erica Enders beat Line to win the postponed St. Louis race, which had been put on hold two weeks ago. With both Enders and Coughlin advancing to Sunday’s semifinal, the pair were able to gain a little ground on Line, who remained second, three rounds ahead of Coughlin and a round and half behind Enders.
“We chipped away a little bit but left some there as well,” Coughlin said. “It was great to get Jason out of the way in Round 2 and, although I would never, ever wish Erica to lose, I was sitting in the waterbox watching in Round 3 when she lost to Matt Hartford, so there was a big chance to go another round or two, but Greg (Anderson, Coughlin’s semifinal opponent) and his crew had other plans.
ENNIS, TX – A frustrating and dangerous weekend of drag racing in St. Louis a fortnight ago has left the chase for the Pro Stock championship in a state of disarray and five-time class champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. feeling a touch unsettled.
To avoid crashing at a racetrack that witnessed several catastrophic accidents due to a suspect track surface, Coughlin was forced to abort his second-round race well before the finish line. NHRA officials immediately cancelled the remainder of the action in the class but two days later decided to simply pick-up the action where it left off during this weekend’s 35th annual AAA NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex.
Considering no qualifying had taken place and that the track surface was literally coming apart, desperate pleas were made to redo the race in its entirety but they were ignored by NHRA brass.
As it stands, Coughlin, who led the points for half the season but has since fallen to third place in his JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, can only look forward and do his best to finish the season strong.