LAS VEGAS (April 16) — Drag racing superstar Jeg Coughlin Jr. proved he can turn left last Saturday night during the special “NHRA Stars in Short Track Cars” charity event at The Bulling at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Driving a 1,200cc Thunder Roadster for the first time, Coughlin finished fourth in an all-star field of drag racers, some of whom had prior short-track experience.

“I was pretty happy with the effort,” said Coughlin, a four-time NHRA champion with 52 national event wins. “I went into this deal with zero experience and an open mind. We wanted to have some fun and entertain the fans that came over from the drag strip and I think we accomplished that. We had a ball and I’d love to do it again.

“We had some time to test on Friday night. Roger Hocking and Ron McIntire, who graciously let me drive one of their team cars, told me I just needed to trust the car and push it to the limit. I went as fast as I felt I could go and his guys were all pretty pleased. They told me I was running a good line. I would like to thank Brian Claas, who work in our engine shop for his expertise and assistance because it was very very helpful!.”

When testing turned to the 15-lap feature event, Coughlin got crossed up early and spun in the first corner. His inexperienced showed on the restart as he filed into the wrong position on the grid but he quickly adapted to racing against other drivers and was making up ground in short order.

“I was following Doug Kalitta’s line,” Coughlin said. “He won ’94 USAC Sprint Car National Championship title before he switched to drag racing so he has a lot more experience than the rest of us. Gary Scelzi and J.R. Todd have also raced roundy-round stuff in the past so to finish behind those three guys is pretty respectable. I was inching up on them towards the end but I ran outta laps.

“Just like the bobsled race we did in January, you can see very quickly there is no substitute for seat time. I think next time around will be a lot better. Regardless of the outcome, we had a blast.

“I can’t thank Roger and Ron enough for letting me drive their racecar. All those Thunder Roadster guys were very gracious. I can’t think of too many racers in any motorsport that would let complete novices jump in their cars just like that but they were as nice as can be.”

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