CHICAGO (June 2) — The first step of Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s journey to a rare “threepeat” in the NHRA’s super-tough Pro Stock category is to make sure his Chevrolet Cobalt race team is part of the playoff field come September. Having earned more points during the first half of the regular season than any driver in the four professional categories, that goal already seems very likely to happen.

With that in mind, the 38-year-old Coughlin and his mates at Victor Cagnazzi Racing will take dead aim at their second target — finishing the regular season in the No. 1 slot. It’s a perch they’ve occupied for the last five national events, thanks to Coughlin’s class-leading three victories in five final-round showings.

“We like being out front,” said Coughlin, a five-time world champion with 57 national event wins. “We’re comfortable with the little bit of extra pressure it brings, probably because we’ve been here before.

“This year has been very exciting. Only once in the past have we been at the top of the standings this early in the year. It tells me the guys are very serious about winning another title. Three-in-a-row championships are very rare. We’d love to get on that list, although we have no thoughts it’s going to be easy.

“There are some great cars in this class and it seems a few of us have taken turns at looking unbeatable at times this year. At the moment, we’re not the dominant car, but we’re working around the clock to find every ten-thousandth of a second we can get out of this yellow and black hot rod.”

Coughlin is expecting a big weekend at Route 66 Raceway. Aside from the fact he’s raced to three wins (2002, ’03, and ’07) and three runner-up finishes (’03, ’05, and ’07) at this facility, the track hosts the annual JEGS Allstars event, which is celebrating it’s 25th running this year.

“If your last name is Coughlin, you’re a Sportsman racer at heart,” said Coughlin, the 1992 Super Gas world titlist. “My crew guys always joke that I’m easy to find at this event because I spend the whole weekend up there watching the Sportsman Allstars going at it. This race is like the Superbowl for them and it’s special for our family and 300-plus associates at JEGS Automotive to have our company’s name as the title sponsor.”

Before the drag race begins, Coughlin plans to tune into the Prelude to the Dream charity race at Eldora Speedway in Ohio to cheer on Team JEGS driver Kenny Wallace. The always entertaining NASCAR superstar and SPEED TV commentator won the first Prelude and had a strong fourth-place finish at last year’s event.

“We’ll be pulling for Kenny to put his hot rod back in the winner’s circle,” Coughlin said. “He’s a real character and a great spokesman for our company and it would be a real thrill to see him win again.”


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