Pomona is a special place for Jeg Coughlin With 45 national event victories, including 33 in the blink-of-an-eye world of Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin's list of tracks where he's found success is lengthy. Yet a quick glance of his resume shows one...
Pomona is a special place for Jeg Coughlin
With 45 national event victories, including 33 in the blink-of-an-eye world of Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin's list of tracks where he's found success is lengthy. Yet a quick glance of his resume shows one crown jewel in his treasure chest -- Pomona Raceway.
The 34-year-old, three-time world champion has done extremely well at the "Birthplace of Drag Racing," racking up an astounding four wins at this historic So-Cal quarter-mile in just seven years of professional competition. He's won here in the spring, he's won here in the fall, and he even won the special mid-summer 50th anniversary event in 2001.
So what gives? Why does Pomona Raceway agree with Coughlin and his Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier team so much?
"There are so many special feelings attached to Pomona Raceway," Coughlin said. "It's the area where drag racing got its start. The NHRA offices are just down the road. The museum is right there on the premises. It's just a special place for drag racers.
"Pomona is one of those tracks where you pull in the gate and immediately your excitement level is peaked. There's always a ton of fans, including plenty who make a point to drive or fly in just for the race, so they're always revved up. Their excitement adds to your excitement as a driver. It's awesome."
Coughlin has celebrated all three of his NHRA championships in Pomona but the most memorable was the first one in 1992. That was the year a 22-year-old, fresh-faced kid from Ohio made his first trip to the west coast for the NHRA Finals. Although his Super Gas world title was already clinched, he knew the Pomona race would be special.
"When you finish a pass in Pomona the return road takes you in front of the grandstands," Coughlin said. "Of course they were packed to the top and I remember coming back down that road and hearing the PA announcers introducing me as the Super Gas champion of the world. The fans just went nuts and I remember thinking what an outstanding feeling that was for me. I still get goosebumps when I think about it. The interesting thing is that feeling has never gone away."
Coughlin will now try to close his 2004 campaign with another victory here. He is currently sixth in the crowded Pro Stock top 10, 20 points, or one round, ahead of seventh-place racer Bruce Allen.
"We've got a car that is fully capable of winning," Coughlin said. "I believe we've shown that over the past few races. The plan is to go out there and have some fun while we close out another season. I know I'll be smiling all weekend just because I'm there."