Coughlin mills over masonry project Drag racers are turned on by the simplest things. A $250 "Wally" trophy is infinitely more valuable than the winner's check. Earning the bragging rights that go with the King Demon Crown, awarded to the...
Coughlin mills over masonry project
Drag racers are turned on by the simplest things. A $250 "Wally" trophy is infinitely more valuable than the winner's check. Earning the bragging rights that go with the King Demon Crown, awarded to the best driver of the sport's top-eight qualifiers from the previous 12 months, is far more important than nationwide media attention. The custom leather jacket and ring presented to the POWERade champ is worth its weight in gold.
So it's not surprising that drag racers get excited about their annual trip to Billy Meyer's Texas Motorplex just south of Dallas for the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals. When Meyer, a former Funny Car pilot, built his all-concrete track in 1986 he started a tradition that has since become one of the "must-haves" on tour. Meyer takes the time to have each Pro winner's name engraved on a brick, which is then permanently set in the hallowed ground of the winner's circle.
"I clearly remember going to the Motorplex when I first started driving and seeing those bricks with all the winner's names on them," said three-time drag racing champion Jeg Coughlin. "Immediately, I was thinking how cool it would be to be a part of that. That's there forever and everyone that comes after you can see what you did."
With 45 national event victories in both the professional and sportsman ranks, the 34-year-old Coughlin has already made a big mark in drag racing. He also realized his dream of leaving an impression at the Texas Motorplex when he won the Pro Stock title there in 2002, thereby adding his name to the roster of winner's immortalized in brick.
"Of course, once you've done it once it makes you want to do it again," Coughlin said. "Only 12 other drivers have multiple bricks in the winner's circle. We're going to try our best to double our brick count this weekend.
"There's every reason for us to be optimistic. We had our latest and greatest motor ready to go for Reading last weekend but we were leery of trying it out there because with the rain and the chance of losing qualifying rounds, we didn't want to be experimenting. However, since then we've had a chance to test it and it looks better than anything we've had before. So naturally, we're ready to see how it stacks up."
Coughlin has been on a tear of late, qualifying as high as second two races ago in Memphis and recording back-to-back semifinal finishes at the last two stops on tour. His success at the Texas Motorplex includes his 2002 victory, a pair of runner-up finishes in 2003 and 2000, and a No. 1 qualifying effort in 2000.
"I love the racetrack," Coughlin said. "Billy was a racer, one of my heroes in fact, and he knows what a track needs to be like to make it great. I always admired him as a driver. He was this young guy out there fighting against the established pros, yet he always had time for us kids and he'd make sure we had T-shirts and hats to wear. As I recall, he was the first to have a semi-trailer and he always did everything first-class. That hasn't changed. This facility is first-rate and it'd be an honor to win here again."
And get that second brick.