BELLE ROSE, La. (March 18) – Coming off a respectable, quarterfinal finish at last weekend’s Gatornationals in Central Florida, veteran Mike Coughlin heads to one of his favorite races, the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals at No Problem Raceway looking for more.
In Belle Rose, Coughlin will once again pursue the Top Sportsman title in his JEGS.com Chevy Camaro. The two-time Division 3 champion is a two-time finalist at the popular JEGS SPORTSnationals event and won the Super Comp title in 2005.
"Last week in Gainesville, I just flat got beat on a close race — just four-thousandths of a second — but my confidence is good," Coughlin said. "We tried a new engine and converter combination to make the car less violent and get it to perform without doing anything funny and I think we got it worked out. I owe a lot of credit to my dad [Jeg Coughlin Sr.] and to my crew, Greg Cody, Tony Collier and Rick Rossiter.
"As a whole, the Top Sportsman class is progressing every race. The drivers are getting smarter and the cars are getting faster and more consistent. We knew we needed to have a car that repeats in order to keep up with the pack and now I think we have that. I think we can qualify in the top 10 at every race and be super consistent so I like our chances."
Having a race car he can rely on, combined with the festive atmosphere of the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals, should bode well for Coughlin’s chances of success in Belle Rose. Coughlin remains one of the early-season favorites to capture the inaugural NHRA national championship in the Top Sportsman class.
"This [Cajun SPORTSnationals] is the most fun event we travel to every year," he said. "It has a different atmosphere from most races. It’s a riot down there. They cook all day and they party and they socialize and everyone is very friendly. The racing is as tough as anyplace else we go, but the camaraderie is second to none. The name of the track say is all; once you get down here, you’ve got no problems to worry about.
“We scored a few points in Gainesville so now we just need to keep it up. I’ve got a pretty full schedule planned for this year and I think it would be great to be up there fighting for a championship at the end of the season. That would suit me just fine."