Jeg's two-pronged attack
MADISON, Ill. -- After winning NHRA POWERade Pro Stock championships in 2000 and 2002, plus a Super Gas sportsman title in 1992 -- not to mention a host of bracket racing victories to his credit -- Jeg Coughlin Jr. has little to prove in drag racing.
But that's not why he races in the first place. Drag racing is as much a part of Coughlin's DNA as any other biological building block he carries in his 34-year-old body.
His father, Jeg Sr., built a multi-million dollar automotive performance mail order business in the Coughlin's hometown of Columbus, Ohio, as he was pursuing a racing career that included everything from Top Fuel dragsters to Pro Stock hot rods. Jeg's Mail Order continues to flourish with its huge warehouse, shipping facility and race shop in suburban Columbus while Jeg Jr. continues to add to his remarkable reputation as a winning driver in whatever class of competition he chooses.
This weekend at the 8th Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway outside St. Louis, Jeg will be looking to gather up not one, but two national event trophies as he divides his driving duties between his Jeg's Pro Stock Chevy Cavalier and the Super Stock Cavalier owned by his brother, John. Last year, Jeg won the Super Stock category at this event in John's racecar with an impressive display of starting line quickness and canny track savvy -- two remarkable aspects of Jeg's enormous racing talent.
With 33 career national event wins in Pro Stock, plus his other victories on both the national and divisional level he has scored along with his three brothers, Troy, John, and Mike, a win this weekend would give the Coughlins 101 total wins combined.
Already this weekend, Jeg is showing he'll be a force to be reckoned with in both classes. On Friday, he wheeled his S/S ride to the No. 1 qualifying position at the top of a very tough Super Stock field; he will be going into Sunday's eliminations from the top half of the Pro Stock ladder -- something that has eluded him the last three races.
"It's always nice to start the weekend with a solid run right out of the trailer," Coughlin said. "These are the best conditions we have ever seen at this event. The corrected altitude was about 1625-feet above sea level during the first qualifying session and we have a great racing surface here at Gateway International Raceway. The data from our first run gave us a strong baseline for the weekend. Now it's our job as a team to make the most of it and continue to improve our setup. It just feels good to start the weekend going in the right direction." Going in the right direction is something that Coughlin has spent much of his racing life doing. Except in Jeg's case, he may be traveling in different vehicles to get there.
Bill Stephens covers the NHRA for ESPN and ESPN.com.
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