Keeping Pace

NHRA Stars Prepare For Bobsled Challenge

Jeg Coughlin flies down the bobsled course in Lake Placid, New York. (Photo courtesy of NHRA)
Jeg Coughlin flies down the bobsled course in Lake Placid, New York. (Photo courtesy of NHRA)

NHRA stars aim to do well in the 5th Annual Lucas Oil Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge set for Jan. 8-10 at teh Olympic complex in Lake Placid, NY.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Jeg Coughlin, Morgan Lucas, Shawn Langdon, and a few yet-to-be-named NHRA pros will again head to Lake Placid, N.Y., Jan. 8-10 for the fifth annual Lucas Oil Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering.

The event on Mount Van Hoevenberg creates awareness and needed funding for the continuing evolution of the made-in-America Bo-Dyn sleds, now recognized among the world's fastest.

Coughlin got involved with USA bobsledding three years ago through NASCAR legend Bodine's Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project Inc., a nonprofit organization committed to researching, developing, and manufacturing bobsleds for U.S. athletes. With Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics, Bodine created the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project in 1992 after learning that USA bobsledding was using castoff sleds from European teams.

Each year, Coughlin and a team of NHRA professionals take on a group of NASCAR stars in the Lucas Oil Bobsled Challenge to raise money to support the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. JEGS Mail Order, the company owned by Coughlin and his three brothers, also sponsors a sled in the event, which Coughlin drove to a podium finish in 2008.

"Racing bobsleds is one of the most unique experiences I've ever had," Coughlin said. "In drag racing, we're cinched in our cars as tight as can be, and we go straight down the track. It's something I've done thousands of times. In bobsledding, you're not strapped in at all, and when they feed you into that ice chute, you have no choice but to take it down the mountain. It's going to the bottom of the hill. How it arrives is up to you.

"Of course, bobsledding is one of those Olympic sports you watch and say, 'I would do that,' but until you do, there's no way of expressing how much ability it takes. I have such admiration for our athletes. I've made probably 40 or so runs in my life, and I'm just now at a point where I don't feel totally out of control. To see our Olympic athletes go from the top and hit speeds of 90 mph yet make it look so easy is mind-boggling."

The Coughlin family then will turn its attention to Vancouver, B.C., for the Olympics, which runs Feb. 12-28.

"We're heading up to Vancouver to watch these guys and girls win some medals," Coughlin said. "The team has been doing really well, and everyone expects them to have a great showing, so we want to add our support and be a part of it all.

"I've never been to the Olympics, so I'm excited. We're going as guests of the Bodine group, and we plan on watching some curling, ice skating, skiing, hockey, and lots of bobsledding. In fact, the bobsled team will be practicing in Lake Placid when we're there for the Bodine Challenge, so I'm sure the mood will be electric."

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.



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