DELAWARE, Ohio (June 9) — Fresh off his class-leading fourth victory of the season, back-to-back Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. arrives at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park for this weekend’s 40th annual United Association NHRA SuperNationals with a comfortable 93-point lead in the world rankings.
Coughlin’s crew and his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt, owned by former New York City Entrepreneur of the Year Victor Cagnazzi, have become the talk of the sport as they’ve risen to the position of most prolific team in all four professional categories. What’s curious is that the team has yet to display the quickest or fastest racecar in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class. Instead, the team’s execution has been close to perfect on race day, helping them race to six final rounds in the season’s first 10 races.
“It’s been a great year so far, no doubt,” Coughlin said. “We’ve only had one other start like this (in 2000) and we went on to win the championship that season so we’re very optimistic. At the same time, we’re realistic as well and we know we’ve had a few runs this year where we simply didn’t get off the starting line. If we can eliminate those errors, the sky is the limit for this team.”
The thought that Coughlin’s team hasn’t reached its potential yet should send chills through his opponents. If a perfect racecar were to be married to the exceptional driving skills Coughlin has displayed this year, Pro Stock championship No. 5 could become a reality.
Regarded by many as the best pure driver on tour, Coughlin has won three elimination rounds this year on holeshots — meaning he had a slower elapsed time than his opponent but won the round via a superior reaction time. His reputation as a skilled leaver also has spooked seven opponents into red-light starts, including three when the race title was on the line. Overall, he’s 28-6 in eliminations this year.
“I try to be as consistent as I can so the crew can worry about other things besides the driver doing his job properly,” Coughlin said. “It’s no secret that a few cars out there have enjoyed a slight performance advantage on us this year so my feeling is that if I can get up on the wheel and gain us a hundredth of a second or two with a quick light, we can even the playing field a little bit.
“In the end, it takes the entire team to win these races. It starts back at Victor’s shop in Mooresville, N.C., and the guys building the horsepower and putting together these fabulous racecars. At the track, I have a very methodical crew chief in Roy Simmons, who has just been outstanding, and a proven crew that makes very few mistakes. We’ve even had the added bonus of my father being at several events and his wealth of knowledge is unparalleled. It’s just all come together nicely for us.”
Coughlin won’t have long to enjoy his latest win as the 40th annual United Association NHRA SuperNationals begins with two qualifying sessions at 3 and 6 p.m. Friday at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.