ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 16) — While his rivals rested over Father’s Day weekend in anticipation of the upcoming 39th Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals, reigning Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. was at Indianapolis Raceway Park winning $25,000 at the JEGS U.S. Open Bracket Championships.

Coughlin logged more than a dozen rounds of cutthroat competition against 350 of the best sportsman racers in the country — including the nine straight he needed Saturday to claim the top prize — to tune up for his next Pro Stock race.

“It was a tough-fought battle every round,” Coughlin said. “I went through more household names in one race then you see in a year. It was brutal, but a lot of fun.

“It definitely doesn’t hurt to race in a deal like this. The cars are different, sure, but the discipline you need, the lights you need to cut every round, the focus you have to maintain, the need to basically perform flawlessly in the cockpit, all of that helps.”

A three-time winner at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Coughlin might not have needed any extra work to prep for the 11th race of the POWERade Drag Racing Series, but as tough as the Pro Stock class has been this year, he knows every little bit helps.

“This is one of my favorite races,” said Coughlin, who won Pro Stock here in 2002 and 2007, as well as the Super Gas crown in 1997. “It’s one of those marquee heritage events that’s been around longer than I’ve been alive, so there’s a bunch of history there. The fans are always great and really into Pro Stock and all the New Englanders get to come to an NHRA race and have some fun. I just love the atmosphere.”

Currently second in the standings, 36 behind Chicago winner Kurt Johnson, Coughlin is in a comfortable position as the second half of the regular season begins. But with eight different winners in the first 10 races, he knows anything can happen.

“I feel like we need another big weekend,” said Coughlin, who has a win, two runner-ups, and three semifinal finishes this year. “We were runner-up at the last race in Chicago and we’ll need to be right in the mix again in E-town. There is no let-up on the schedule and I like it that way. It keeps you on your toes.”

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