WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 24) — It’s hard to imagine a drag racer with five world championships and a whopping 67 national event victories being anything but comfortable in a racecar, yet 41-year-old Jeg Coughlin Jr. admitted to being a little edgy at the start of the test session at Palm Beach International Raceway.

“I had a nervous couple of days leading into this deal,” Coughlin said. “There was so much going on in my head. I told Dad (Hall of Famer Jeg Coughlin Sr.) that I must have had a million questions I needed answered before we got started. Fortunately everything went great. That number probably went down to four after the first pass.”

Although Coughlin successfully raced a variety of Sportsman cars in 2011, he hadn’t dropped the clutch on a 1,400-plus horsepower Pro Stock car since November of 2010.

In addition to his return to a Pro Stock cockpit, Coughlin also has made the switch to a Dodge Avenger powered by the first hand-crafted engine produced at JNR Racing Engines, a facility he and his brothers partially own with Nick Ferri and Roy Simmons.
“It was our first time out with the new car, the first on-track test and the first action with this particular group working together under race-like conditions,” Coughlin said. “I have to say, everything went about as good as it could have gone. We’re all pretty pumped up.
The only Pro Stock car on the property, Coughlin and crew made seven passes down PBIR, most to half-track or 1,000 feet. They ended their time in south Florida with two full pulls, both of which showed 6.61 at 210 mph on the time slip.

“The first goal was getting the car to go straight and Tomi (Laine, crew chief) figured that out right away,” Coughlin said. “Roy was there from the engine shop and he was busy with the new motor. When you have new cylinder heads and manifolds, it requires new carb settings. We ran those 6.61s without leaning on it at all so obviously, factoring in the conditions, we can say ‘mission accomplished’ on several levels.

“Being a brand new team we need to build up our race inventory. We scrubbed in some tires and broke in a bunch of clutch discs. We want to get as much done as we can before the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series starts on February 9th.”

The JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger crew will next test in Las Vegas the weekend before the season opener to work out any last-minute changes.

“We’ve developed a tuning window,” Coughlin said. “Next time we’ll push it and get as ready as we can be for the real deal. Then we’re going to get after it in Pomona and see where we stack up. I’m very optimistic.”


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