Joliet II: Jeg Coughlin preview

Odds on Coughlin look strong They won't post odds at the local riverboat casinos docked near Route 66 Raceway in suburban Chicago, but if they did, defending race winner Jeg Coughlin would have to be considered among the favorites at ...

Odds on Coughlin look strong

They won't post odds at the local riverboat casinos docked near Route 66 Raceway in suburban Chicago, but if they did, defending race winner Jeg Coughlin would have to be considered among the favorites at this weekend's fourth annual CARQUEST Nationals.

The three-time world champion drag racer enters the race as the hottest driver in Pro Stock. For starters, Coughlin is fresh off a top-qualifying effort in Dallas where he had both the quickest and fastest car in the field. He also arrives in the Windy City as the two-time defending race winner, having won the fall Chicago race in both '03 and '02.

"We definitely are filled with enthusiasm," said Coughlin, who also had the fastest car at the start of the month when the tour was in Indianapolis. "We're making great horsepower these days and I know this team will be well prepared for this race.

"Obviously, Route 66 has quickly become one of our favorite racetracks in the short time it's been around. It's such a neat facility and the conditions are usually favorable to strong-running teams like ours. We're excited and ready to get started, especially in light of the recent success we've had with our Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier."

Coughlin also expects to get a mental lift from the special race-within-a-race that will take place this weekend in the form of the 20th annual Jeg's Allstar Race, which his family's company sponsors. The sportsman-level event will be run Saturday in between professional qualifying sessions.

"The Jeg's Allstar Race will be an added shot in the arm for us because there is always so much positive energy coming out of that event," said Coughlin, who won the Allstar Race twice in his career. "You've got 64 of the best sportsman racers in the country going head-to-head and the atmosphere will be intense."

The Jeg's Allstar Race invites the winner of each of the NHRA's eight sportsman classes from the country's seven sanctioned divisions, plus last year's Allstar Race winners, to compete against one cash and bragging rights. Additionally, points are awarded to each division's teams based on the performance of each driver, with a prestigious team title handed out at day's end.

"I don't know whether I'm more excited about watching the Allstars or racing Pro Stock," Coughlin said. "Both deals will be a lot of fun."

-www.teamjegs.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin