John Coughlin season preview

DELAWARE, Ohio (Mar. 3) -- Team JEGS driver John Coughlin is set to hit the track this year with a pair of brand new race cars. Coughlin, a five-time NHRA national event champion, has kept busy this winter overseeing the construction of a 2007...

DELAWARE, Ohio (Mar. 3) -- Team JEGS driver John Coughlin is set to hit the track this year with a pair of brand new race cars. Coughlin, a five-time NHRA national event champion, has kept busy this winter overseeing the construction of a 2007 Chevy Cobalt which will run in Super Stock and a big block Chevy-powered dragster, which is being built for the exciting new Top Dragster class which is making its debut at NHRA Lucas Oil Series events this season.

"This is the most excited I've been to start a season in a long time," said Coughlin. "I tend to keep my race cars for a long time but I felt the time was right for something new. In this sport, you've got to constantly keep moving forward or you'll find yourself chasing the competition. With these two cars, I believe we'll have all the equipment necessary to compete with anyone."

Coughlin's Cobalt, which replaces the Chevy Cavalier currently being raced by his younger brother Jeg, was built by B&B Race Cars in Hohenwald, Tenn. Patterson Racing will supply the power for expected eight-second performances. Although the Cobalt was built for the Super Stock Modified class, but is also capable of racing in Competition Eliminator with a few minor modifications. In addition to the Rick Rossiter, Greg Cody and Tony Collier, Coughlin has enlisted the help of four-time NHRA champion Jeff Taylor to help him get the car dialed-in.

"Rick, Greg and Tony all pulled together to get these two cars done and that's teamwork," Coughlin noted. "My Cavalier was a great race car that won a lot of events and almost always qualified near the top of the field. However, I believe the Cobalt is a superior design and Jeff Taylor is probably the best in the business when it comes to sorting out a new car. With Jeff's help, I would expect us to be able to hit the ground running and be able to win some rounds right off the bat."

Coughlin's second entry will be a rear-engine dragster from Kurt Damron's Undercover Chassis in Wildwood, Fla. The car features a mono-strut style rear wing and body panels constructed of high-strength carbon fiber composite material. Coughlin expects to run in the six-second zone with the new car using a 632-cubic inch engine from Huntsville Engines. The new Top Dragster class has few rules governing performance and only the quickest 32 drivers qualify for final eliminations.

"In order to qualify in the top half of the field at most races, you'll almost certainly have to run in the sixes," said Coughlin. "This new car, we should be capable of doing just that. There is a lot of excitement about Top Dragster, especially here in Division 3. I know a lot of new cars are being built this year but I feel we'll be in the thick of the battle."

Coughlin expects to begin testing with both cars next weekend before making his 2007 debut at the Southeast Division Lucas Oil Series event at Orlando Speed World Dragway, March 9-11.

-credit: team jegs

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