Jeg, Troy Coughlin Joliet preview

Jeg and Troy poised on the brink of a breakthrough race Smiles are coming easy for racing brothers Jeg and Troy Coughlin as they prepare for the eighth annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway just south of Chicago. Both of...

Jeg and Troy poised on the brink of a breakthrough race

Smiles are coming easy for racing brothers Jeg and Troy Coughlin as they prepare for the eighth annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway just south of Chicago. Both of the decorated drivers are anxious to resume racing, feeling that their respective programs are on the verge of greatness.

Jeg is a two-time champion at this racetrack, tying him with current points leader Warren Johnson for the most Pro Stock victories at the state-of-the-art facility that opened in 1998. He won both the 2002 and 2003 fall events, giving him and crew chief Bob Glidden reams of information on the shortest way down the quarter-mile.

It will be a busy weekend for Jeg as, in addition to the regularly scheduled NHRA national event, he'll be competing in the invitation-only King Demon Crown special race for the top eight Pro Stock qualifiers from the last 12 months. Racers are awarded bonus points based on their qualifying position at each national event. Higher qualifying efforts are worth more points and DNQs are worth nothing. This will be Jeg's sixth King Demon Crown. He won the event in 1999 and 2000.

"It's a real honor to be in the King Demon Crown field," said Jeg, who qualified sixth and will race veteran Larry Morgan in Saturday's first round. "It's a testament to the team you have around you that they were able to give you such a consistent racecar that you qualify with all the time. It's not easy to get an invitation to this deal, and for us, this year was a real challenge because I've driven for two different teams with two completely different crews and racecars. It's very exciting."

What's more exciting for Jeg is that he feels his Jeg's Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T team is ready to challenge for both trophies up for grabs this weekend.

"We're on the brink," Jeg said. "Just like Grandma's spaghetti sauce, all the ingredients are here. We just need to figure out how to put them all together to get that perfect blend. It's bound to happen soon. If we can just clean up our runs, we'll be in contention.

"To get a third win in Chicago would be such a huge shot in the arm for this team. It's something we need, quite honestly, because when you work as hard as these guys, you like to be rewarded for your efforts. We have twice as many chances to win so maybe this will be our weekend."

Troy has been anxiously awaiting his chance to get back in the seat of his Jeg's Mail Order Ford Mustang after a six-week gap in the 14-race AMS/TLR Pro Mod Challenge schedule. Troy last drove his monster hot rod on May 1 in Bristol, Tenn., and considering the way it was running then, he can't wait to mash the gas again.

"The first three races of the year we were fighting a problem that we didn't discover until Las Vegas,' Troy said. "In the two races since then we've had the racecar we knew we had all along only now it's showing what it's capable of. To say I'm exciting about getting back in the cockpit would be a huge understatement.

Troy has qualified near the top of the last two elimination fields and has gone rounds at both races.

To stay busy in the downtime, Troy competed in a Super Gas entry at the NHRA national event in Columbus May 19-22. He's also been building a Pro Street car, while keeping mentally and physically sharp with his practice reaction-time tree and an exercise regiment that includes Pilates.

"I've been staying busy but you can't replicate the feeling of driving this car," Troy said. "It's the most awesome accelerating machine I've ever driven."

-www.teamjegs.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Troy Coughlin , Warren Johnson , Larry Morgan , Bob Glidden