Coughlin honored, humbled as Hall of Fame induction nears

Coughlin honored, humbled as Hall of Fame induction nears

Coughlin honored, humbled as Hall of Fame induction nears

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 5) -- Jeg Coughlin Sr. always has been quick to deflect praise to the people around him, but this Thursday at the University of Florida Hilton it will be impossible for him to avoid the spotlight as he takes his rightful place in the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame presented by Lucas Oil.

Known as much for the high performance parts company that bears his name as his success on the quarter-mile strip, Coughlin will join fellow straight-line legends Joe Amato, Clayton Harris, Leonard Abbott, Rich Guasco, Fred Sibley Jr., and Ed Almquist at the 21st annual fete.

"Someone asked me how it felt to be inducted and I said it seems like it's going to be a lot more fun accepting this honor in person than having someone go up there after I'm dead and saying, 'He was a good guy,'" Coughlin said with a laugh. "Gosh, you just don't think about stuff like this and I'm so thrilled to be included.

It's a pretty exclusive club and it's darn special to be a part of it all.

Jeg Coughlin Sr.

"My deepest thanks to Pat and Don Garlits for thinking of me and for keeping this thing alive year after year. I'm sure it's a lot of work to put something like this together and to keep their museum going but it's neat they take the time to give us all a place to get together with old friends and talk about drag racing."

Simultaneously racing and building JEGS Automotive, which celebrated it's 50th anniversary in 2010, Coughlin found great success in both areas, winning four NHRA North Central Division championships and 30 race titles, including one stretch of 11 consecutive victories in Top Alcohol Dragster. At the same time he guided JEGS from a tiny speed shop in downtown Columbus to the industry giant it's become today.

"I owe everything to my family, our wonderful customers, and the great fans," Coughlin said. "I was smart enough to realize very early on the need to surround myself with smart people. I'm not going into the Hall of Fame for what I did; I'm here because the people around me made me look good."

Jeg Coughlin Jr., one of four sons that now run JEGS, busts at the seams when talking about his father.

"My dad never takes credit for anything, unless something goes wrong, so I think it's fantastic he's been recognized like this," said the five-time world champion. "He's always been quick to deflect the praise to others even though he's been instrumental in so much of our success. It's the same whether you're talking about our racing, our business, or even within the family itself, he's happiest making others look good.

"His passion and persistence in building JEGS has touched thousands upon thousands of racers for multiple generations now. The fact he's being honored by his peers for his own remarkable racing career as well as his business achievements will mean a lot to him. I'm filled with pride."

Even fellow inductee Amato is quick to tip his hat to Coughlin Sr.

"I'm a great admirer of Senior," said Amato, a five-time Top Fuel champion. "We grew up in the sport at the same time and it's cool we're both getting into Don's Hall of Fame at the same time.

"I've always enjoyed his sense of humor and his style. We used to have long nights playing Liar's Poker and he'd always make fun of the way I said 'three,' because I'm from the Northeast and it sounds like 'tree.' He'd look at me and say, 'I got tree trees,' and we'd just laugh. He's quite a character and I can't wait to see him on Thursday."

A social hour begins at 6 p.m., followed by a dinner and the induction ceremony.

-source: team jegs

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Joe Amato , Don Garlits
Tags drag, dragster, hall of fame, history, nhra