Joliet II: Jeg Coughlin preview

Jeg Coughlin hoping to tame top dogs Only five Pro Stock racers have better than .500 records in eliminations this year. Three-time NHRA champion Jeg Coughlin knows them all too well. Coughlin, a 45-time national event winner, enters this ...

Jeg Coughlin hoping to tame top dogs

Only five Pro Stock racers have better than .500 records in eliminations this year. Three-time NHRA champion Jeg Coughlin knows them all too well. Coughlin, a 45-time national event winner, enters this weekend's Ameriquest NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., hoping to exact some revenge on the plus-.500 crowd.

In the first 19 races of the 2005 season, Coughlin has lost just 19 rounds. Two-thirds of those loses have come at the hands of those few racers with positive race day marks. It's a trend the Jeg's Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T racer wants to reverse.

"We seem to have faced our share of the top guys," Coughlin said, "maybe even a little more than our share. The problem has been that we're facing them early in the day rather than in the semis or finals. But that's the way it works out some times. It also has a lot to do with where you qualify. The higher you get on the ladder the better your chances of not seeing the tough teams until Sunday afternoon.

"We've also seen too many races decided by a thousandth of a second not go our way. I know when we won our two Pro Stock championships those races tended to favor our team. Now we seem to be on the other end of the equation. All you can do is work to get better, which is exactly what we've been doing. Bob [Glidden, crew chief] and the guys at the engine shop have really come across something and they're excited."

Of Coughlin's 45 national event victories, 12 have come in the sportsman ranks. That's a total he could add to this weekend as he will compete in the Super Comp class in addition to his duties with his Don Schumacher-owned Pro Stocker.

"Sportsman racing is very important to our company and my brothers and me," Coughlin said. "We all grew up racing in various categories and we never miss a chance to jump in one of our race cars and get after it. For me, racing in the sportsman categories really helps me sharpen my reaction times and totally focus on racing."

This is a special weekend for the entire Jeg's organization as they will host the annual Jeg's All-Stars race for the sport's best sportsman racers from each of the NHRA's seven divisions.

"It's a thrill for us to put on this very important race," Coughlin said. "I get a charge out of seeing the very best racers from across the divisional lines go head-to-head. Plus you see guys that normally fight with each other on a weekly basis suddenly pulling for one another to win for the team. It's a special deal and we're excited to see who wins."

-jegs-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin