CHARLOTTE (Oct. 8) — Five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. has won his titles in a variety of ways, including holding off challengers from the lead position and coming from behind late in the season. If he hopes to add a sixth crown to his resume this year it will require catching and passing Tanner Gray, winner of the last two national events, who currently sits 90 points ahead of Coughlin in the Mello Yello points.
Coughlin has made a phenomenal run in the first three playoff races in the JEGS.com Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro, qualifying No. 1 on two occasions and second at the other event. He's logged finishes in the quarterfinal, semifinal and final round. Only Gray has earned more points since the Countdown to the championship started.
"I don't know if we could be doing anything more than we have," Coughlin said. "This Elite Motorsports team has done everything in its power to give me a great racecar every round, both in qualifying and on race day. The game plan is to approach Charlotte just like we have the first three playoff races. We want to race hard, race smart and see if we can't add one more win light to the day then we did in Dallas and pick up a win.
"We are ready to go. There are three races left this season and we need to keep up all this momentum we’ve built. That’s definitely our focus."
Coughlin already has wins this year in Chicago, Bristol, Tenn., and Sonoma, Calif. He also was runner-up in Indianapolis and Dallas. He is a former winner at zMax Dragway, having won the fall race in 2013.
"Rickie (Jone's, crew chief) has a great tuning strategy going into the week and we will evaluate as we get closer to the start of the event and be set on kill come Friday," Coughlin said. "It’s going to be a fun weekend. My nephew Troy Jr., brother Mikey, father-in-law Al (Kenny) and brother-in-law Jason (Kenny) will all be racing, so we have a lot going on."
Troy Coughlin Jr. will be racing for his fifth victory of the season in the JEGS.com McPhillips Racing Top Alcohol Dragster, having already scored regional wins in Norwalk, Ohio, Cecil County, Md., and Bowling Green, Ky., as well as a national-level win in Reading, PA. He also was runner-up at the Norwalk national event.
"I feel very lucky to have spent this year racing with this team," said Troy Jr., who already wrapped up the North Central Regional Championship. "They are very passionate about drag racing, every bit as much as I am, and they are a very accomplished group that knows how to win. This is a team with big goals.
"We'll get to Charlotte, be ready to analyze the track and the conditions, and tune the car accordingly so we can run at or near the top of the class. Big thanks to JEGS and Global Electronic Technology for their support all season. For sure we'll continue to work hard to represent them well and have fun, like we have all year."
After debuting a completely revamped JEGS.com Top Dragster at his last race in St. Louis, Mike Coughlin is excited to return to one of his favorite tracks on tour, especially since his son Clay is coming along for the weekend.
"With the weather situation in St. Louis limiting us to just one qualifying round we really didn't get to see the full potential of the new set-up," Mike said. "Hopefully, that won't be an issue in Charlotte and we can go down there, have some fun with our car, and root like crazy for Jeg and Troy Jr. to make some moves for their respective championships.
"We did get a chance to test again and the car is really good. There's not much to report other than we have the same great crew, the same awesome parts from JEGS.com, and the same desire to win."