Indy ORP: Jeg Coughlin Jr preview

Defending series champ also tour's most recent winner INDIANAPOLIS -- Reigning POWERade Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. arrives at drag racing's biggest and longest running event -- the 54th annual U.S. Nationals -- on a roll after winning...

Defending series champ also tour's most recent winner

INDIANAPOLIS -- Reigning POWERade Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. arrives at drag racing's biggest and longest running event -- the 54th annual U.S. Nationals -- on a roll after winning his 40th career Pro Stock race at the tour's last stop in Reading, Pa. With the Countdown to 1 looming, Coughlin is placing a premium on gaining momentum as he dreams of obtaining his fifth NHRA championship.

"We have a lot of confidence that we can secure a fifth title this year and we know a big weekend in Indy would go a long ways towards that goal," Coughlin said. "First, we want to make sure we have the best starting position in the Countdown to 1. Secondly, you want to be peaking at the right time. Indy is very important to us in both regards."

Coughlin has a sterling record at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, having won four times at the facility. Interestingly, three of his four wins came during championship years for the 38-year-old from Columbus, Ohio. He won Super Gas in 1992, which helped him win the division on a national level that year. He then took the Pro Stock trophy in 2000 and 2002, with both of those campaigns ending with world titles. Additionally, Coughlin won the Super Stock Hemi Challenge at ORP in 2004.

"Everyone associated with the sport of drag racing knows the history of this event and what it means to win Indy," Coughlin said. "It's the history of the race, the legends that have won there in the past, the huge attendance by the fans, all the industry players that come to town, it's just a huge deal all the way around.

"We've very pleased with the performance of the JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt at the moment, and we're excited by the prospect of improving even more. Our team owner, Victor Cagnazzi, has his staff very focused on the upcoming Countdown to 1 and having the strength of three team cars in the Countdown field will help us all compete at the level it's going to take to win it all."

The Countdown to 1 is a six-race series that begins Sept. 11-14 with the inaugural Carolina NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway in Charlotte and concludes at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif. Unlike last year, there is not a second cut down of eligible racers. Instead, all 10 qualified professional will race to the finish line in Southern California.

"I think it's fairer this way," said Coughlin, who clinched the title last year based on his phenomenal finish that included a runner-up result in Las Vegas and a win in Pomona. "The 10 teams in the Countdown have worked hard to get there and now the points are reshuffled and we all have a great chance to show our stuff.

"It will be a lot easier for the fans and the members of the media that cover our sport to keep up with the system. Plus, I firmly believe the best man will win it all. We're ready to get started."

-credit: team jegs

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin