Houston Jeg Coughlin Going for the Hat Trick

Jeg Coughlin is going for the hat-trick. No, the talented Pro Stock racer hasn't suddenly turned his attention toward a career in ice hockey. Rather, he is returning to a racetrack where his Jeg's Mail Order Oldsmobile Cutlass team has...

Jeg Coughlin is going for the hat-trick. No, the talented Pro Stock racer hasn't suddenly turned his attention toward a career in ice hockey. Rather, he is returning to a racetrack where his Jeg's Mail Order Oldsmobile Cutlass team has been the dominant force since 1997. Coughlin will be racing for his third straight victory at the third annual Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions, Oct. 28-31 at speedy Houston Raceway Park. The $1.7 million race is the 21st of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. "We've had quite a bit of success there in the last couple of years at both of the events held at Houston," said Coughlin, whose final round conquests at this event have included Mark Osborne (1997) and Tom Martino (1998) . "We're running extremely well and the odds are certainly looking good for us," the Columbus, Ohio driver added. "With the atmospheric conditions and the great track surface, our Oldsmobile Cutlass seems to thrive in that environment and we're expecting to be in the hunt for another victory." Coughlin has had a good season. He's earned four wins in five final rounds and also claimed the $50,000 payday for winning the Winston Showdown. He earned another bonus payday of $50,000 for winning the Holley Pro Stock Dominator Duel at Englishtown, N.J. "It's been a great year for our entire operation," said Coughlin, currently third in the Winston point standings. "Definitely one for the record books. But we're still learning. We've been competitive, and that's the main thing. At least we've been able to make things a little more exciting." In fact, had it not been for an early season slump where Coughlin failed to qualify for consecutive events, he could have given newly crowned Winston champion Warren Johnson a better run for the money. "We struggled for several races in a row there and that hurt us quite a bit," said Coughlin, who missed the cut at spring events in Dallas, Richmond, Va. and Atlanta. "You can always say 'What if,' but we deal in reality, and the reality of it was that we lost some ground in the points during that stretch of races. We knew we couldn't go back and correct it, so we just focused on getting back to work and making strides to improve on our program. Now we've found some consistency and have been running extremely well." He said the combination for his Cutlass was just a tick off during the month of April. "There were three to four things that weren't working for us," Coughlin said. "We were having some suspension complications. We clearly had the horsepower and a great car, we just couldn't get the clutch, gearing and chassis working together. When you have a few little things like that bite you at once, it can make one big problem." Something he hasn't had at Houston Raceway Park. "I think you do have more confidence returning to a track where you've had success and visited the winner's circle before," said Coughlin, currently 94 points behind second place contender Kurt Johnson. "I guess every driver has tracks where they consistently perform well. We'd like to make it three in a row at Houston."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson