BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 5) — Fans attending this year’s 26th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals could witness a special piece of drag racing history should Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. manage to drive his Chevrolet Cobalt to Brainerd International Raceway’s winner’s circle. Coughlin is one win away from 50 career victories, a plateau that just 10 men have reached in 56 years of organized competition.

“It’s hard to fathom,” Coughlin said of the 50-win mark. “You go along doing what you love to do and you never really think about the cumulative totals you’ve amassed and then one day someone says you’re on the brink of 50 wins and it just kind of knocks you off your feet. I feel very lucky and honored to be in this position at all.”

Only three Pro Stock racers have reached 50 wins. By chance, Coughlin’s modern day on-track rival Greg Anderson just achieved the feat at the NHRA tour’s last stop in Sonoma, Calif. Of the 10 on the prestigious list, six are classified as professionals, while the other four have earned their trophies in the Sportsman ranks.

Much like his win total at Brainerd International Raceway — Coughlin has three national event wins at BIR, one in Super Stock in 1997, and two in Pro Stock in 1999 and 2002 — Coughlin’s 49 career wins have come in both the Pro and Sportsman categories. Currently, he has 36 Pro Stock wins, including two this year, and 13 sportsman wins in four different classes: Super Stock (seven), Super Gas (four), Competition (one), and Top Dragster (one).

“I love drag racing and I can’t recall too many times when I’ve turned down a chance to spend a weekend at the strip,” Coughlin said. “Pro Stock is the ultimate level of competition and it’s a thrill every time you go down the track. To win at that level is very, very special because you’re racing the best of the best every round.

“At the same time, my roots are in the Sportsman ranks and I never miss a chance to run one of my other cars if the schedule permits. Those 13 Sportsman wins are just as special and were just as hard to come by as the Pro Stock ones.”

The chances for Coughlin to score his 50th event win in front of the BIR faithful are considered to be pretty good. Aside from his three previous wins at the facility, the driver has been the most prolific driver in the Pro Stock class for the last 12 national events. His 944 cumulative points since the start of the Houston event in late March are tops in the category.

“We’ve been consistent and that’s something a driver craves the most,” said Coughlin, who hails from Delaware, Ohio. “Fortunately, we locked up our spot in the Countdown to the Championship a few races back so we’re able to come to Brainerd and just race hard and have some fun without the stresses of the points race weighing on us. I can’t think of a better place to get that 50th win.”

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