Columbus: Coughlin looking forward to comforts of home race

HEBRON, Ohio - Believe it or not, two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin has more energy at one track than any other. Before Coughlin ever hopped into the Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier for competition purposes, he went to National Trail...

HEBRON, Ohio - Believe it or not, two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin has more energy at one track than any other. Before Coughlin ever hopped into the Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier for competition purposes, he went to National Trail Raceway to watch his older brothers blaze down the quarter-mile track.

"I really enjoy racing at Columbus," the youngest Coughlin said. "I used to watch my brothers race there and I just have a lot of great memories associated with this race track. We have a lot of people who come out to support us during the race and that means more traffic in and around our pits. There are a lot of demands on our time there, but to me that just means it is an excellent opportunity to perform well in front of a lot of friends and family."

Coughlin has earned one victory in two final round appearances at National Trail Raceway. He is looking to make that two wins when the Coughlin family parks the hauler at the 39th annual Pontiac Excitement NHRA Nationals presented by Summit Racing at National Trail Raceway, June 12-15. Larry Dixon, Ron Capps, Greg Anderson and Craig Treble are the defending winners in their respective categories for the $2 million race, the 11th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

While Coughlin likes being surrounded by the local scenery, there is one thing he and every Pro Stock racer must be aware of - other teams. The competition in Pro Stock has become more intense than ever in the last three years and there is little room for error.

"We try to appease everyone who comes out to visit us during the races," Coughlin said. "But we also have a big job to do and we have to make sure that the entire team is focused on the race. We have a goal of going out to win each NHRA event and that is no easy task. This is a zero-tolerance world and we have to make sure we don't make any mistakes. One mistake can cost you a victory."

If anyone knows about making mistakes or making error-free passes down the track, it is Coughlin. In 2000 Coughlin won 10 events en route to his first NHRA POWERade Pro Stock championship. In 2001, however, he won just three races and finished in the No. 5 spot.

Coughlin bounced back in 2002, winning eight national events. The first win didn't even come until St. Louis, the 12th stop on the 23-race tour.

After the first nine events of 2003, Coughlin is winless in one final round appearance and is No. 4 in the standings. Still, Coughlin is the defending champion for the second time in his career and he has enjoyed every minute of the challenge

"I enjoy the process of being the defending champ without question," Coughlin said. "We've been in this position once before in 2001 where we were defending a title and there is nothing better than defending a championship. Obviously you have made it to the top and your goals are to remain there. It's easier said than done, but that is our plan."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Ron Capps , Greg Anderson , Craig Treble