DELAWARE, Ohio (May 19) — Five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. zipped to a strong semifinal finish at the second annual Virginia NHRA Nationals in Dinwiddie, Va., to lead the charge for Team JEGS this weekend. Coughlin's niece Paige, the son of three-time Pro Mod champion Troy Coughlin, also had a great weekend, going four rounds in Super Comp at the 13th annual Cavalcade of Stars in Norwalk, Ohio.
Fellow Team JEGS drivers Troy Coughlin Jr., Paige's big brother, and Samantha Coughlin, wife of Jeg Jr., also competed for the yellow and black, with Troy Jr. turning on a win light in Super Comp action alongside his sister.
"This was my best outing of the year besides Arizona so we're really happy," said Jeg Jr., who won the Phoenix event in late February. "It was nice to see a couple of win lights come on in our lane and to renew that feeling of going rounds, especially after having six weeks off between races."
Beginning this year, the NHRA reduced the schedule of events for the Pro Stock class to 18 races, with the last one coming a month and a half ago in Las Vegas. The time off certainly didn't seem to matter to Jeg Jr. and his Elite Motorsports team, who looked sharp across the board.
After qualifying seventh with a 6.578 at 208.30 mph, Jeg Jr. began race day opposite 10th-ranked Fernando Cuadra. The race was a tight one with Jeg Jr. needing a .023- to .058-second holeshot advantage to take the win with a 6.612 at 205.72 mph to Cuadra's quicker-but-losing 6.607 at 208.65 mph.
It was a bit of déjà vu in the second round when Fernando Cuadra Jr. was in the opposite lane, but this time Jeg Jr. had a much easier ride, leaving first one again and winning with a 6.628 at 207.34 mph to Cuadra Jr.'s 6.858 at 200.80 mph.
"It really seemed as though we picked up right where we left off in Vegas," Jeg Jr. said. "The JEGS.com Chevrolet Camaro was good through qualifying and performed really well in the first two rounds of eliminations."
Red-hot Bo Butner was next and although Jeg Jr. had another great light, he was caught and passed early in the run and lost with a 6.629 at 207.66 mph to Butner's 6.602 at 208.78 mph.
"We had Bo in the semifinals and just got beat, really," Jeg Jr. said. "He just outran us and then went on to win the race altogether so it was his day. We're still pleased with the results and I'm already looking forward to Chicago."
Samantha was with her husband in Virginia but exited the Super Comp eliminations much sooner than she had hoped, losing a close first-round race against Christina DiBartolomeo.
In the Coughlin family's native Ohio, Paige had one of her best days as a driver, zooming through three successful elimination rounds of competition before dropping a tight contest in the fourth round. Her stellar day of driving outshined the work turned in by her decorated sibling Troy Jr., who was tripped up in Round 2 in Super Comp and the opening session in Super Gas.