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Keeping Pace

Reloaded: Coughlin ready for another title campaign

Jeg Coughlin Jr. had one of the best seasons of his illustrious career in 2009, leading the NHRA professional ranks with seven national event victories and 13 races atop the Full Throttle point standings.


Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Pomona, Calif.-Four-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. had one of the best seasons of his illustrious career in 2009, leading the NHRA professional ranks with seven national event victories and 13 races atop the Full Throttle point standings. Although the 61-time national event winner didn’t close the deal and capture his third straight title, he and his JEGS.com teammates know they don’t need to stray too far from a successful formula that made Coughlin the best Pro Stock racer of the ‘00s.

“We accomplished more than anyone else in the regular season but fell a little short in the Countdown,” Coughlin said. “We didn’t go into the off season thinking we needed to make wholesale changes; it was more a matter of cleaning up a few little things. We know what needed to be fixed and why things happened the way they did and we feel very confident that we’ve corrected our issues. We’re very excited about 2010.”

Coughlin rolls into Auto Club Raceway in Pomona for the 50th annual Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals with a retooled Chevrolet Cobalt and extra horses under the hood thanks to the long hours put in this off season by the staff at Victor Cagnazzi Racing, Coughlin’s home for the last two and a half years.

“We’ve tested quite a bit this off season,” Coughlin said. “We even utilized Richie Stevens as a test driver to get some more passes in the books. We’re happy with the car. I firmly believe we’ll be a top team all year. The regular players are still right there and I’m sure some surprises will come along so we need to stay on our toes.”

This season Coughlin will see plenty of extra racing action as he debuts a brand new JEGS.com Dodge Challenger Race Pak that he will drive in the Stock Eliminator class. He plans to race both of his cars at several national events this season and also will enter a handful of divisional races in the Challenger as well.

“Sportsman racers are used to running multiple cars at the same event,” Coughlin said. “It’s something I’ve done several times myself in the past. When you turn pro you tend to get away from that because of the various obligations you have to the media, the fans, and the sponsors that support your program.

“I personally think it can only help my driving. There’s no way to completely duplicate taking the Christmas Tree in real competition besides going out there and racing so I think it will help me stay focused. Plus, the car is so much fun to drive. I haven’t been this excited about driving a racecar for a long time. It’s going to be fun.

“It’s a beautiful car and it looks awesome in our JEGS colors. We kept that traditional Challenger look and I think it’s a vehicle that people will really enjoy watching.”


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

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