“This always is a fun weekend for me,” Coughlin said. “It’s a home division race (Division 3) so most of the guys I grew up racing will be there. Plus, it’s close enough to home that a bunch of the local folks that watched Dad race back in the day come over. That’s always very cool talking with them.
“And the fact we’ve won there four times, well, that’s pretty good also.”
Coughlin is the event’s defending champion, having beaten current points leader and reigning series champion Mike Edwards in last year’s final. He also collected the trophy at Route 66 in 2007, 2003, and 2002.
“We’ve done well there in the past but the thing I’m most excited about this time through is the way we’ve been running over the last several races of this season,” said Coughlin, who has raced to two wins in three final-round showings in the last five national events. “I think we’re seeing the fruit of all the hard work the guys have been putting in over at (team owner) Victor Cagnazzi’s race shop.
“Mike Edwards made us all go back and figure out a way to go faster. Historically, the Pro Stock class has gone in phases. There was Bob Glidden’s time, then Warren Johnson, Greg (Anderson) and Jason (Line) over at KB Racing, on through to Mike. Whenever you have a period like those guys had it gets you fired up to catch them.
“Mike’s still running great, and now we’ve seen Allen Johnson coming on lately. I like to think we’re in the mix as well. We’re riding some great momentum right now and if we get the JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt more stable, watch out.”
Coughlin and crew plan a quick stop in Norwalk, Ohio, for a prerace test. Then they’ll settle in for a long weekend at the strip that will include playing the role of spectator at the annual JEGS Allstars Race, which takes place during Saturday’s action.
“The JEGS Allstar is another big reason why I love Chicago,” said Coughlin, who will race a JEGS.com Dodge Charger in Stock eliminator in addition to his Pro Stock car. “We’re going to see the best Sportsman drivers in the country getting after it. The action will be intense and that’s just the way we like it.
“I’ll try to win some rounds in my Stock car and my fiancé Samantha is racing her dragster in Super Comp so we’ll have some busy days, but that’s how we like it.”
Coughlin’s working weekend will start at 8 a.m. CDT Friday with Stock qualifying action. Pro Stock has two sessions scheduled at 3 and 6 p.m. Friday.
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