Year in Review: Coughlin's 2009 season highlighted by NHRA-best seven victories
DELAWARE, Ohio (Dec. 16) -- Five-time NHRA World Champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. added seven Pro Stock victories to his total in 2009, becoming one of just 10 drivers in the 58-year history of the sport to compile 60 or more wins.
After driving his JEGS.com Cobalt to victories in Phoenix, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Chicago, Englishtown, Reading, and Indianapolis, Coughlin has 61 wins, tying him with Tony Schumacher for ninth place on NHRA's all-time list.
"When I began racing in 1989, my goal was to win a national event," Coughlin said. "I was fortunate enough to accomplish that goal at the 1990 Springnationals at our home track, National Trail Raceway, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. Fortunately, I've been able to win at least one race almost every year since then and I think I've exceeded most of my goals."
With his April win in Las Vegas, Coughlin took over the point lead in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class and held it until the start of the Countdown to 1, NHRA's six-race playoff to determine the championship. Unfortunately, the team experienced a run a bad luck in the playoffs and Coughlin finished the season in fifth place.
"We certainly had the will to win but we got a little behind and struggled to catch up," Coughlin said. "We wanted to win another championship but the fact we didn't sure doesn't put a black eye on what I consider to be a very good season."
In addition to his seven wins, Coughlin also claimed his third career victory in the prestigious K&N Horsepower Challenge, a special eight-car invitational event open to the top eight Pro Stock drivers from the previous 12 months based on their qualifying performance. Coughlin captured the $50,000 top prize by defeating Greg Anderson in the final.
"The K&N Challenge was definitely a highlight for our team," Coughlin said. "It had great racing, a great payout, and a lot of prestige. It's also very rewarding considering the path we took to get the win. At that race, you have nothing less than the best Pro Stock cars in the country and it's an honor to be a part of it, much less win it."
For Coughlin, not all of the excitement in 2009 happened on the racetrack. This summer he got engaged to girlfriend Samantha Kenny. To top it off, Kenny won the Super Comp class at the same NHRA event where he won the K&N Horsepower Challenge. It was her first major victory.
Coughlin also was able to celebrate the unprecedented success of the JEGS.com team, which included championships by his three brothers -- John, Troy and Mike -- as well as a national event victory by his nephew, Troy Jr., and a USAC .25 Midget title for his nephew Cody.
"Troy Jr.'s win in Las Vegas and Cody's championship in USAC, that was some great stuff for the next generation of the Coughlin family. Samantha's win in Norwalk was very special also," said Coughlin. "With everything that our team accomplished, I got to witness a lot of great racing all year long. Looking back, we were able to celebrate fairly often. I feel extremely fortunate."
JEG COUGHLIN 2009 FACTS
Won seven NHRA national event titles, more than any other professional driver
Won the $50,000 top prize in the prestigious K&N Horsepower Challenge event in Norwalk, Ohio
Became one of just 10 drivers to amass 60 or more national event victories
"I may not have won a championship, but when I look back at 2009, it was a great year both on and off the track." - Jeg Coughlin Jr.
-credit: team jegs