COUGHLIN BROTHERS RACING FOR VICTORY AT JEG'S.COM CAJUN SPORTSnationals BELLE ROSE, La. -- Mike Coughlin was raised in a family that was extremely passionate about the sport of drag racing, and the 39-year-old racer remembers ...
COUGHLIN BROTHERS RACING FOR VICTORY AT JEG'S.COM CAJUN SPORTSnationals
BELLE ROSE, La. -- Mike Coughlin was raised in a family that was extremely passionate about the sport of drag racing, and the 39-year-old racer remembers vividly one of his favorite events to attend growing up.
As one of four brothers, he would tag along often with the family each weekend to help out and cheer on their drag racing father, Jeg Coughlin Sr. Those were fun times for the family, a tradition that the Columbus, Ohio-based clan has kept going now for more than 30 years.
Back then, Coughlin loved to go to the NHRA SPORTSnationals more than any other race. Today, things haven't changed much. That event -- which was reintroduced last year by NHRA -- still holds a special place in his heart. The only difference now is that he gets to participate in the event in his Super Comp dragster.
He will try to claim a victory in the JEG's.com NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals, April 22-24 at No Problem Raceway in southern Louisiana. The popular race is one of two NHRA SPORTSnationals -- NHRA national events that showcase sportsman racers exclusively -- to be contested in 2005. The other will be held July 29-31 at National Trail Raceway near Columbus, Ohio.
Should Coughlin win his category, he would be the first Coughlin to win an NHRA SPORTSnationals event. The family -- Jeg Sr., Jeg Jr., Troy, John and Mike -- have combined to win more than 100 NHRA events over the years, but never a SPORTSnationals title.
"Growing up we always looked forward to going to the SPORTSnationals -- it was always a favorite for the family," Coughlin said. "This isn't just another division race, the whole concept takes it to another level. It's like a pro race for the sportsman racers and they're very excited about it. Everyone really gets fired up for the race and makes it one of the most competitive of the season."
Mike will be joined at the event by all of his brothers. John will be racing in Super Stock, while Troy will be competing in Pro Mod. Jeg Jr., a two-time NHRA Pro Stock world champion, is still undecided if he is going to compete in Super Comp, but he may.
Mike was impressed with the facility last year and felt like the entire event went off without a hitch.
"Last year the race was extremely smooth and we had a lot of fun," he said. "It was really intense because it's a national event and all of the teams are racing hard for points in the Lucas Oil Series. The fans were awesome all weekend too.
"The track is just a fun place and there's a lot going on. The owners really did a great job putting the place together and there's just so much hospitality. There were great crawfish parties and something like that going on all weekend."
He was so impressed, that he and his brothers decided to get more involved by agreeing to sponsor the race with their Ohio-based family automotive parts business, JEG'S.
"It was really a no-brainer for us to sponsor both SPORTSnationals races," he said. "We are very involved with NHRA sportsman racing and the concept really makes sense for us."
FOR A GOOD CAUSE: One of the primary community service initiatives for Team JEG'S is creating awareness for cancer research through the JEG'S Foundation. On Saturday, kiosks will be set up throughout the track so that competitors and fans can make donations to the JEG'S Cancer Research Fund. Donations will be accepted throughout the day and all proceeds will go to cancer research. In 2003 Jeg Coughlin Jr. and his wife, Karen, with the assistance and commitment of the entire Coughlin family, established the Jeg's Foundation to honor several family members whose fight against cancer had been the source of inspiration and courage for others. The foundation supports innovative research and treatments for patients as well as educational efforts to help the public become more aware of the early signs and symptoms of cancer and how they might make healthier choices to protect themselves from developing the disease.
The JEG'S Foundation for Cancer Research is honored to be affiliated with two of only 39 nationally designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute at the Ohio State University (www.jamesline.com), and the Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals Health System (www.irelandcancercenter.org).
ANOTHER TROPHY: In addition to an NHRA Wally, racers who win the JEG'S.com NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals also will receive the JEG'S Cup, a trophy made exclusively for the JEG'S NHRA SPORTSnationals events.
TOUGH FIELD: Among the notable sportsman racers entered in the event include three-time world champion David Rampy, winner of 55 NHRA national events. Rampy, a 30-year veteran racer, is entered in two categories. Defending NHRA Lucas Oil Series Super Gas world champion Jonathan Womack also is entered in the event. Among the local favorites include defending Super Gas event winner Ross Laris, from Raceland, La.
TICKETS: General admission tickets are $20 each day. For ticket information, contact No Problem Raceway Park at (985) 369-3692. For additional information about the event, visit nhra.com or noproblemraceway.com.