Memphis: Jeg Coughlin preview

Jeg Coughlin convinced Memphis will be turning point It's always hot when the POWERade Drag Racing Series hits Memphis. And there's usually a good chance it'll rain at some point in the weekend schedule. But for three-time NHRA champion Jeg ...

Jeg Coughlin convinced Memphis will be turning point

It's always hot when the POWERade Drag Racing Series hits Memphis. And there's usually a good chance it'll rain at some point in the weekend schedule. But for three-time NHRA champion Jeg Coughlin, Memphis Motorsports Park is as comfortable as Graceland was for the city's most famous denizen.

Coughlin's love affair with the Bluff City started long before he won his two Pro Stock crowns there in 2000 and 2002. Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, Memphis was within Coughlin's circle of cities he could reach in a weekend and still make it back home in time for school on Monday morning. The sport's first driver to win races in four different categories in the same year, Coughlin has raced Super Gas, Super Stock, Competition Eliminator, and Pro Stock at Southeast Tennessee's premier quarter-mile.

"Outside of the local tracks in Ohio, Memphis Motorsports Park was one of the first tracks I ever traveled to," Coughlin said. "It was a big thrill to drive down here as a young man and go see the sites of the city and race at this track. You couldn't get much cooler than Elvis' hometown."

Solidifying his love affair with MMP, Coughlin used his first professional-level victory at this track to lock-up the 2000 Pro Stock world title. At the same time, Coughlin shared the winner's circle with his brother Mike, who won the Pro Stock Truck trophy that same day.

"That remains one of my fondest memories in drag racing," the 45-time national event winner said. "To clinch our first Pro championship, win the race, and then have Mikey win also was a banner day for the Coughlin family. There are lots of photos of that winner's circle hanging in all of our homes and at the shop. We've had great success there as a family."

Coughlin enters this year's 18th annual O'Reilly Mid-South NHRA Nationals looking to create some more Memphis magic. His Don Schumacher-owned Jeg's Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T is winless in 2005 despite the fact it's been a consistent threat at ever national event.

"It'll be just like St. Louis," Coughlin said. "The humidity and temperatures will be through the roof. I've seen forecasts calling for 100 degree highs all three days. We'll probably see some showers in there. You just never know. We're going to do everything we can to bring the yellow and black home a winner one more time."

-jegs-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Don Schumacher