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Keeping Pace

Coughlin says Denver’s six-second barrier could fall

Bandimere Speedway, the site of the upcoming 30th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, has seen countless Pro Stock runs down its quarter-mile strip. But none to date have been accomplished in less than seven seconds in competition.


Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Denver, Colo.-Considering he leads all of his professional peers this season with five victories and a stellar 33-7 race day record, back-to-back and reigning world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. knows a thing or two about performance. So when the 59-time national event winner talks about records falling, it’s worth paying attention.

Bandimere Speedway, the site of the upcoming 30th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, has seen countless Pro Stock runs down its quarter-mile strip. But none to date have been accomplished in less than seven seconds in competition. Coughlin says he wouldn’t be surprised to see that mark finally fall at this year’s race, and he’d love nothing more than to be the first to do it in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt.

“That would be a neat little piece of history to be a part of,” said Coughlin, the most prolific racer on tour this year, regardless of class. “Of course, the weather is going to have to set up right for us but I just have this feeling it’s all going to fall into place.”

The current Bandimere elapsed time record for Pro Stock cars is 7.010 seconds set at last year’s event.

“This race is always a bit of a question mark simply because the altitude and lack of oxygen forces teams to change just about everything in their race cars except the driver,” Coughlin said with a laugh. “Yet the Bandimere family understands drag racing so well that they’ve done everything in their power to make the race track perfect, including putting a massive cooling system under the launch pad. That removes one of the big variables in the tuning equation and allows the crew chiefs to concentrate on making horsepower up there in that thin air.

“Historically, the teams that have done well in Denver are the ones that can adapt the quickest to the conditions, whatever they may be. We’ve won here in the past (1998 and ‘99) so we know how to get it done and our team is filled with championship-caliber professionals so I’m confident we can figure it out.”

Coughlin has collected trophies at his last three national events, winning race titles in Chicago and Englishtown as well as the $50,000 K&N Horsepower Challenge in Norwalk, Ohio. The Challenge is a special race-within-a-race that invites the top eight qualifiers from the last 12 months to battle for Pro Stock’s largest cash prize.

“Winning the K&N race in Norwalk was really big for our team,” said Coughlin, a three-time Challenge champion. “First of all, I’m from Ohio and our company, JEGS Mail Order, is located in Delaware, Ohio, so it’s home for my entire family and all of our dedicated associates. Secondly, the caliber of competition is unparalleled. It’s literally the best of the best so it’s very satisfying to win that deal.

“But maybe the biggest reason that win was so big was because it kept our incredible momentum going. We’ve had a very strong first half but we’ve still got some work to do to threepeat so it’s important to keep moving forward.”

Prior to the race, Coughlin and his son Jeggie will take part in the Bandimere’s 20th annual Race to Read Charity Golf Tournament at Fossil Trace Golf Club in nearby Golden, Colo. Race to Read is a six-week reading program conducted by Bandimere Speedway designed to encourage literacy in elementary-age children by providing exciting race-themed incentives.

“The Bandimeres are exceptional people that put others first,” Coughlin said. “It’s an honor to help their charity along in any way possible. They’ve been around the sport as long as our family has and we feel a true kinship with them. It’s going to be fun to tee it up with my son and all the golfers taking part in this fundraiser. Hopefully, we raise a ton of money for them to keep the Race to Read program on track.”


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

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