BELLE ROSE, La. (April 4) – After two qualifying runs at the fourth annual JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals at No Problem Raceway Park, Team JEGS driver Mike Coughlin is right where he wants to be, qualified solidly in the top half of the ultra-fast Top Sportsman class. The reigning NHRA North Central Division champion, Coughlin is making his first start of the season after a four-month layoff. His first pass of 2008 netted a 6.922-elapsed time, one of the quickest runs of his career, which is currently good for the No. 5 spot in the 32-car field. Coughlin’s Team JEGS Chevy Cobalt is also one of four entries to top the 200-mph mark on Friday.

“That was a pretty good way to start the year,” said Coughlin. “We made some minor changes to my Team JEGS Cobalt over the winter in an effort to make it a little bit quicker and it certainly looks like we’ve accomplished our goal. This car is not only fast, but it’s also a pleasure to drive. It’s so smooth and comfortable; it feels just like driving down the highway in your family car.”

Coughlin did not improve his qualifying time on his second run, but he will have two additional opportunities to do so at 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday before entering final eliminations on Sunday. Coughlin’s extensive résumé includes a win at the 2005 JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals in Belle Rose as well as two final round appearances at the JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals, a similar sportsman only event held each summer at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio.

“I really like these [SPORTSnationals] events and it certainly helps that I’ve had some success in them,” said Coughlin. “I really enjoy my annual trip here to Belle Rose. Everyone, from the racers to the track officials, are all very friendly. This year, I decided to take my wife, Kriss, and my sons, Jack and Clay, and make a family vacation out of it and they’re having a great time as well. Hopefully, we’ll all be celebrating Sunday night in the winner’s circle.”

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