ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 6) — The way five-time Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. sees things, this weekend's 48th annual NHRA Summernationals at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park would seem to be the perfect place to score career win No. 77.
"We're kind of in this up/down deal lately where one race we seem to do really well and the next one something happens and we're out earlier than we want to be," Coughlin said. "We lost a close one to our teammate Vincent Nobile last weekend in Epping (N.H.) so I have to assume we're due for another 'up' weekend.
"Certainly we have the car and the people here at Elite Motorsports to get the job done. Seeing my other teammate Erica Enders breakthrough and win Epping was a huge boost for all of us and combined with the success our JEGS.com part of the team has enjoyed this year, we feel very, very optimistic."
Coughlin has two runner-up finishes this season, logged in Houston and Topeka (Kan.), and two top qualifying efforts (Houston and Charlotte), proving his JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro is fully capable of running with any car in the class.
A 58-time winner in the Pro Stock class, Coughlin has claimed four Wally trophies at Englishtown in the past — taking the hardware in 1998, 2000, 2009 and 2014 — so he also knows his way to the winner's circle at the venerable northeast speedplant.
"Love the track and love the people; it would be awesome to win another one there," Coughlin said. "I said it last weekend and it certainly goes this weekend too, the people in the northeast are some of the best Pro Stock fans in the country. They are really knowledgeable about our cars and what it takes to run them. I think they're great.
"I'm also a big fan of the Napp family. They've owned this track forever and racing is as big a part of their lives as it is to my family so we speak a common language. Gosh, I remember this place seeming so exotic and far away when I would read about it as a kid and to have been here racing so many times as an adult is really cool. This is definitely one of the 'bigs' on the NHRA schedule."
When not wheeling his own hot rod down the strip, Coughlin will be keeping a close eye on the progress of his brother Troy, who is racing a JEGS.com Corvette in Pro Mod, and his nephew Troy Jr., who drives the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster.
Four Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3:45 and 6:15 p.m., Friday, and 1:45 and 4:15 p.m., Saturday. Sudden-death eliminations will begin at noon, Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will feature live coverage of Saturday's qualifying action from 2-4 p.m., Saturday, followed by live elimination coverage from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Sunday. There also will be an elimination show running from 6-7:30 p.m., Sunday. (Times are local and subject to change)