The 38-year-old driver of the JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt is off to a great start this season, with five final-round runs in the first eight races. His 714 points in the championship standings are the best in any professional category and he is just one of four pros — along with Antron Brown, Tony Schumacher, and Jason Line — without a first-round loss on his ’09 scorecard.
“Everything has been going very well for us, without question,” Coughlin said. “You like to think the majority of our good fortune is the result of hard work. I know I’ve never been around a group as dedicated as this Victor Cagnazzi Racing organization.
“The driver always gets the accolades but I wouldn’t have a chance without this talented group behind me. From having my pop, Jeg Sr., at a lot of the races this year, to our crew chief Roy Simmons, the guys on the crew, and everyone back at the engine and chassis shop in Charlotte, we’re all part of a great, great team.”
Two of Coughlin’s 57 career victories have come at Heartland Park Topeka. He won the Pro Stock trophy here in 2000 to help propel him to his first Pro Stock championship. He also captured the Super Stock title in 1994.
Additionally, Coughlin raced to runner-up finishes there in Pro Stock (1998) and Competition Eliminator (1997).
“I like the track,” Coughlin said. “Even more so, I like the people of Kansas. The city absolutely opens its arms to the NHRA when we get there and it seems everyone in town is tuned into what we’re doing. That’s makes Topeka a very special place.
“That event always seems to attract a real diverse crowd also, maybe because it’s at the start of summer. I’ve met people from all over the world that built their vacations around the Topeka race. It’s a neat deal.”
Coughlin qualified a season-best second on the elimination grid at the tour’s last stop in Bristol, Tenn. He’s hoping that trend continues at HPT, where he has a lifetime record of 16-8.
“It’s been a few years since we’ve won at Topeka so maybe we can return to the winner’s circle this time through,” he said. “I certainly feel like we have the car and the team to get it done. The way this class is running, we just about have to get to the finals every week to stay out front, and we do like being the lead dogs.”