Coughlin tuned into having another big year POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 6) -- In winning three world titles and 47 national events on the NHRA circuit, Jeg Coughlin Jr. has earned a reputation as a steely competitor who is impossible to rattle. But...
Coughlin tuned into having another big year
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 6) -- In winning three world titles and 47 national events on the NHRA circuit, Jeg Coughlin Jr. has earned a reputation as a steely competitor who is impossible to rattle. But even the 36-year-old racer from Columbus, Ohio, who oftentimes appears to have ice water running through his veins, admits he's buzzing with excitement as the 2007 prepares to open Thursday with the 47th annual Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.
"It's Pomona," Coughlin said. "To a drag racer, it's like a shrine to everything you love. The hair on the back of my neck stands up every time I come through the gates of this racetrack. I hope that feeling never goes away."
An eight-time winner at the NHRA's home track, Coughlin is always thrilled to step on Pomona's hallowed ground. But after sitting out the majority of the 2006 campaign, Coughlin's return to the birthplace of drag racing holds extra meaning this time through.
In September, Coughlin announced a return to Pro Stock competition as part of Victor Cagnazzi's multi-car racing operation. He used the grand stage of the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis to unveil the next car he hopes to take to the championship -- the Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevrolet Cobalt.
As a tune-up, Coughlin ran three events at the end of the '06 season, immediately recording his career-best elapsed time and top speed of 6.604 at 208.78 mph. He's also tested extensively this off-season, most recently at the Pontiac Showdown preseason event in Las Vegas.
"We're thrilled with how the car is responding," Coughlin said. "Of the three days I was in Las Vegas, we had the quickest car Friday and Sunday, so two of the three days. On Saturday, my teammate Dave Connolly won the Showdown so all in all, it was a great weekend for Cagnazzi Racing and the entire Slammers Ultimate Milk Team. To say we're excited for the start of the season would be an understatement."
The 2007 season marks a different approach to deciding the NHRA series champion with the first 17 races of the year determining the best eight drivers, who will then race down to a group of four, then two, and ultimately the champ.
"I don't think it matters as far as how we approach each race," Coughlin said. "We still need to win races to keep ourselves happy and to keep the folks at Slammers Ultimate Milk and JEGS Mail Order happy. Bottom line, just as it's always been; you gotta win.
"The season does feel a little tighter because those first 17 races take on added significance. You can't afford any hiccups. You just have to race smart and let things fall into place. If you have a strong team behind you, like we do at Cagnazzi Racing, the rest should take care of itself."
-credit: team jegs