GAINESVILLE, FL – One surefire way to chase away the winter blues is a two-week-long racing vacation in the Sunshine State. That’s exactly what’s been on the mind of JEGS.com Top Dragster pilot Mike Coughlin, who is anxious to travel south to the Baby Gators NHRA Division 2 Lucas Oil event, March 6-10, at historic Gainesville Raceway in central Florida.
And to make doubly sure he warms up sufficiently, Coughlin plans to stay on for the 50th annual Amalie Oil Gatornationals the following weekend, March 14-17, and race alongside his brother Jeg Coughlin Jr., Jeg Jr.’s wife Samantha and Mike’s nephew Troy Coughlin Jr.
“It’s been a long, cold and snowy winter up here in Ohio so I’m definitely in need of some sun therapy,” Mike said. “A couple weeks in Florida sounds perfect, especially with a bunch of racing thrown into the mix.
“To have two races in a row at the same facility, one as good as Gainesville Raceway, will give us a great start to what we hope is a championship season. We tested very well recently in Palm Beach and we plan on coming out swinging at the Baby Gators and the regular national event. These two races should give us a solid benchmark of what we can expect this year, and I feel like it’s going to be very good.”
CHANDLER, AZ – When you’ve won 62 times in Pro Stock competition, it would be understandable if the victories started to blend together in your mind. But for five-time series champion Jeg Coughlin Jr., earning the trophy of Sunday’s 35th annual Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals in his 1,000 round of Pro Stock racing, this trophy has special significance.
“This win today truly feels really second-to-none,” Coughlin said. “To reach a mark like this — 1,000 rounds of racing in this class — and to hit it just right with a win, wow, that’s just incredible.
“It’s a lot of racing. I’ve been racing Pro Stock for more than 20 years and to reach this mile marker is amazing. I’ve got to thank my family and all the crew members and teams I’ve had behind me through the years. I’ve had some amazing talent helping me get here, from mechanics and engineers working on the car, to the various crew chiefs and engine builders, the list goes on and on.
“This is really a testament to this Elite team and all the other teams we’ve had over the years. I remind myself every time I get in the car to just get in there and do what I love to do and that’s race this car. That’s a cliché saying from the Days of Thunder movie, as someone pointed out to me years ago, but it’s still a damn good point. I’m honored to be here, doing what I love.”
CHANDLER, AZ – There’s snow on the mountains behind Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park — a site most drag racers have never seen at this facility — and racing conditions have been tricky, with two qualifying sessions lost to cold temperatures, but Jeg Coughlin Jr. still managed to find a quick way the quarter-mile to qualify seventh at this weekend’s 35th annual Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals.
“We qualified ninth in Pomona (Calif., at the season opener) and seventh here so we are moving in the right direction,” Coughlin said. “Of course, both rounds were lost yesterday due to the cold, it was cold here a month ago when we tested at this track, and it was cold in Pomona two weeks back so we’re really getting a work out, so to speak, running on cold surfaces.
“Today’s sun was wonderful and although our car still isn’t completely happy riding down through there at this point, we did have nice start in both of today’s runs. It’s just that area from about 200 feet to 500 feet that’s tricky, and you can feel it as you roll through the gears. We’ve got some massaging to do but I have faith in our group to sort it all out.”
CHANDLER, AZ – It looks like this weekend’s 35th annual Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals may set records for chilly temperatures, but five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. thinks his JEGS.com Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro is ready to set fire to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
“I said before the season opener (in Pomona, Calif.) that this is the best-running car I’ve had at the start of the season since I’ve raced with Elite Motorsports so I’m extremely excited to get to Phoenix and get after it,” Coughlin said. “This is a track where we’ve had great success in the past and we tested well there a few weeks back so we’re expecting big things.
“It looks to be uncharacteristically cold this weekend but we just encountered the same situation in Pomona so we’re already on task to find a good cold-weather setup. All five of the Elite cars ran well in Pomona and we ended up with two cars in the final four so the crew chiefs are doing their jobs. I know we’ll see more of the same this weekend and hopefully one of us can pull off the victory.”
POMONA, CA – Jeg Coughlin Jr. has a fast racecar and he’s ready to show the world his 2019 Pro Stock title aspirations are for real when eliminations begin Sunday at the 59th annual Lucas Oil Winternationals.
Coughlin qualified No. 9 with a 6.558 at 210.50 mph in his JEGS.com Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro, but that wasn’t his best pass of time trials. He actually went 6.544 at 211.46 mph in Friday’s first qualifying session but the run was disallowed because his car was a tick under the minimum weight.
“All in all, I’ve got a great race car and I know I have a great team behind me and we are looking to get out tomorrow and showcase our efforts,” Coughlin said. “We had a little misfortune following our Q1 run, which was disallowed because we were light on the scale. That’s the first time in 20 years for something like that to happen. I guess we were just too close so it didn’t pass.
“The next three sessions were good. We were fighting the car like a lot of the teams were through the middle of the race track just to keep it accelerating forward instead of spinning and we were getting a little better at it each run. We were seventh in the second session, fourth in the third session and probably in the top three or four of the last session, so we have a good, consistent thing going.”
POMONA, CA – The last time Jeg Coughlin Jr. finished second in the championship points, all the way back in 1999, he returned the following year and won 10 races in 14 final-round appearances on his way to the first of his five Pro Stock championships.
On the eve of this weekend’s season-opening 59th annual Lucas Oil Winternationals, the veteran driver from Delaware, Ohio, is hoping history repeats itself. If so, he will raise his tally to seven NHRA titles, which includes the Super Gas crown he earned in 1992. Coughlin would also likely add to his total of 80 national event victories (61 in Pro Stock, 19 in various Sportsman classes) along the way.
“I feel as though we’re the best prepared we have been for the start of a new year,” Coughlin said. “We had a top-running car at the end of last season and basically the team just made a bunch of enhancements on what we were doing then. Now it’s time to see where we stack up.”
Coughlin entered the 2018 Countdown to the Championship in fourth place and drove his JEGS.com Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro up to second before the final bell sounded. With last year’s class winner no longer in the sport, Coughlin returns to action as the highest-ranking driver in the class.
POMONA, CA – With six world championships and 80 career wins, Jeg Coughlin Jr. is known far more for his winning ways on race day than his prowess during qualifying sessions. But he has added mightily to that second category this season, which he capped Saturday with a personal-best sixth low qualifier award of the year.
Just as he has throughout his career, Coughlin set his new mark in style, running his best pass of the 54th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals in the final qualifying session with a rocket-ship run of 6.510 at 211.49 mph. The pass showed a remarkable 60-foot time of .958 seconds.
“Rickie (Jones, crew chief) had the car set on kill,” Coughlin said. “We knew we wanted to stay up front and felt like we could get after it as much as possible and not jeopardize, completely, making an otherwise solid run and we made quite a lap there.