Jeg Coughlin smiles looking back at successes in 2006 DELAWARE, Ohio (December 28, 2006) - After making more than 500 competitive quarter-mile passes in nine different racecars this year, Jeg Coughlin should be ready for a long winter break. But...
Jeg Coughlin smiles looking back at successes in 2006
DELAWARE, Ohio (December 28, 2006) - After making more than 500 competitive quarter-mile passes in nine different racecars this year, Jeg Coughlin should be ready for a long winter break. But the three-time NHRA champion with 47 national event wins to his credit only gets more revved up when he discusses one of his most active seasons of drag racing.
Coughlin's whirlwind 2006 campaign was largely overlooked by the national media as the Pro Stock star spent most of the year away from professional competition. "We weren't on the cover of National DRAGSTER or NHRA.com," he said. "But we had a bunch of fun doing the kind of racing I absolutely love. I wouldn't trade a thing."
With five victories in big-dollar bracket races and two more wins at the season-opening Mopar Hemi Shootout in Las Vegas and his company's own JEGS.com Cajun SPORTSnationals in Belle Rose, La., Coughlin recorded one of his best seasons ever behind the wheel of the multitude of racecars he piloted.
In all, the 36-year-old from Delaware, Ohio, drove two different Top Dragsters, his own Chevy II wagon, Michael Ogburns' West Coast Hemis Barracuda, Steve Cohen's 1973 Chevy Nova and Ron Richards' 1993 Camaro in Stock Eliminator, as well as Richard Freeman's Chevy Cobalt and Arnie Martel's E-Altered Automatic in Comp Eliminator. He also took command of a Pro Stock car late in the year.
"I wheeled a lot of different cars and tested myself in many ways and I had an absolute blast doing it," Coughlin said. "We opened with a win against my West Coast Hemi's teammate Jerry Jenkins at Las Vegas in March and we just kind of went from there and never looked back. We had so many successes and so many high points.
"Sportsman racing has reached such a level of competition that you can't go anywhere and not get matched up against some awesome drivers. To collect seven big wins is stunning to me. It's a real credit to our crew -- Rick Rossiter, Greg Cody, Clint Allerton, Tony Collier, and Kenny Underwood -- for showing the ability over and over again to give us awesome racecars to drive. I don't think we lost one round all year to mechanical failure."
Coughlin points to his July win at the AA Auto Salvage Superbucks race at Atco Raceway in New Jersey as one of his '06 highlights. "That race brings out the best East Coast racers and it was such a battle every round," Coughlin said. "Joe Sway runs that track and as a former Pro Stock racer he knows what it takes to make a drag strip the best it can be. It was an honor to win at his place."
As he crisscrossed the country racking up sportsman wins, Coughlin also made preparations for his return to the Pro Stock ranks. In mid-Summer, he was hired by Victor Cagnazzi to drive the Slammers Ultimate Milk/JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt and he got a head start on a run for his fourth world title by competing at the last three NHRA events of the year.
"Dropping the clutch on the new Pro Stock car and running career-best E.T. and speed in Richmond ranks right up there with the wins we had," Coughlin said. "It was a big moment in Indy when we announced the return and then to finally run the car down the track was like renewing my Pro Stock vows."
While he reveled in wins at Piedmont, N.C., Tri-State in Cincinnati, two wins at Moroso Motorsports Park in South Florida, and his victories at Las Vegas, Atco, and the JEGS.com Cajun SPORTSnationals in Belle Rose, La., Coughlin also had some not-so-subtle defeats that helped remind him how brutally tough drag racing can be.
"I faced my good friend Jason Lynch in the finals of the July race at Mid-Michigan Motorplex in Stanton and I was on such a roll that I was feeling invincible," Coughlin said. "Well he absolutely welded me and took that $50,000 top prize right before my eyes. It was a real eye-opener and it certainly reminded me you can never let your guard down. I knew I had to take some time after that race and get my head straight. In hindsight, I'm glad it happened because it was a slap in the face I needed."
Returning to his sportsman roots was a thrill for Coughlin, who reports that his time away from the stresses of Pro competition helped him have his best year yet at JEGS Automotive Inc, the high-performance parts mail order business he runs with his three brothers. But now he must prepare himself for another run at ultimate drag racing glory in his Pro Stock car.
"My life has been blessed and we continue to have a great time whenever we go racing," Coughlin said. "To have such a great year at the business and compliment it with racing success is very gratifying. I'm a fortunate guy."
-credit: team jegs