Phoenix: Jeg Coughlin Jr. preview

Defending Phoenix winner ready to light up Firebird International Raceway PHOENIX (Feb. 16) -- Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. arrives at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix intent on defending the title of the Arizona NHRA Nationals,...

Defending Phoenix winner ready to light up Firebird International Raceway

PHOENIX (Feb. 16) -- Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. arrives at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix intent on defending the title of the Arizona NHRA Nationals, a race he won last season to kick off a stellar regular season that included an NHRA-leading seven national event victories.

At last weekend's season opener in Pomona, Calif., Coughlin started his 2010 campaign with a strong showing, at least through qualifying, where he nailed down the No. 2 spot overall in a tight Pro Stock field. But raceday through his JEGS.com race team a curveball as his super-quick Chevrolet Cobalt went sideways on the launchpad, relegating Coughlin to first-round loss and a ninth-place ranking in the early points.

"We tested well and ran so consistently in qualifying out there and we fully expected to have a long day of work on Sunday but it wasn't meant to be," Coughlin said. "The car went crooked and as tight as Pro Stock is these days, we couldn't recover in time to challenge for the round win.

"The best news is Phoenix comes quick and we're ready to get back on track and redeem ourselves. It's obviously very early in the season but you never want to see the other guys get too big of a lead because they are all tough to catch. We'll be ready to get this JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt moving in the right direction."

One of the main reasons Coughlin hopes to notch his 62nd career victory in the Valley of the Sun is his planned post-race trip to the Vancouver Olympic Games, where he will be a VIP guest of the USA Bobsled team. Coughlin and JEGS, the company he co-owns with his three brothers, support Geoff Bodine's Bobsled Project, which makes sleds for the U.S. men's and women's bobsledders.

"We've developed some great friendships with our Olympic team members through the annual Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge NASCAR vs. NHRA fundraiser up in Lake Placid and the guys and girls on the team were gracious enough to invite us up for the Olympics," Coughlin said. "I can't remember when I've been so excited about something. We're heading up there bright and early Monday morning and it would be awesome to bring along a Wally trophy and some winning mojo."

A five-time national champion, Coughlin will have two chances to score some Phoenix hardware as he'll compete in Stock Eliminator in addition to his duties in Pro Stock.

-source: vcr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin