“We’re heading up to Vancouver to watch these guys and girls win some medals,” Coughlin said. “The team has been doing really well and everyone expects them to have a great showing so we want to add our support and be a part of it all.”
Coughlin got involved with USA Bobsledding three years ago through NASCAR legend Geoff Bodine’s Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., a non-profit organization committed to researching, developing, and manufacturing bobsleds for U.S. athletes. Together with Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics, Bodine created the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project in 1992 after learning that USA Bobsledding was using castoff sleds from the European teams.
Each year, Coughlin and a team of NHRA professionals take on a group of NASCAR stars in the Lucas Oil Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering to raise money to support the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. JEGS Mail Order, the company owned by Coughlin and his three brothers, also sponsors a sled in the event, which Coughlin drove to a podium finish in 2008.
“Racing bobsleds is one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had,” Coughlin said. “In drag racing we’re cinched in our cars as tight as can be and we go straight down the track. It’s something I’ve done thousands of times. In bobsledding, you’re not strapped in at all and when they feed you into that ice chute you have no choice but to take it down the mountain. It’s going to the bottom of the hill. How it arrives is up to you.
“Of course, bobsledding is one of those Olympic sports you watch and say, ‘I would do that,’ but until you do there’s no way of expressing how much ability it takes. I have such admiration for our athletes. I’ve made probably 40 or so runs in my life and I’m just now at a point where I don’t feel totally out of control. To see our Olympic athletes go from the top and hit speeds of 90 mph yet make it look so easy is mind-boggling.”
Coughlin, Morgan Lucas, Shawn Langdon, and a few yet-to-be-named NHRA pros will once again head to Lake Placid Jan 8-10 for the upcoming fifth annual Lucas Oil Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering. Then Coughlin and family will turn their attention to Vancouver for the Olympics, which run from Feb. 12-28.
“I’ve never been to the Olympics so I’m excited,” Coughlin said. “We’re going as guests of the Bodine group and we plan on watching some curling, ice skating, skiing, hockey, and lots of bobsledding. In fact, the bobsled team will be practicing in Lake Placid when we’re there for the Bo-Dyn Challenge so I’m sure the mood will be electric.”
Scott “Woody” Woodruff
JEGS, Director of Media & Motorsports
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