BELLE ROSE, La. (Sept. 13) – Five-time champion drag racer Jeg Coughlin Jr. led his team’s efforts at the third annual Moser Engineering Great American $50,000 Bracket Race by winning Saturday’s American Race Cars Shootout.

Coughlin’s nephew Troy Coughlin Jr. (T.J.) also ran well over the weekend, as did Jeg’s new bride Samantha Coughlin.

Still it was the veteran Jeg who made the biggest splash with his victory in the Shootout, which awarded the winner a 2011 American Race Cars dragster, a car that was sold on the spot to an interested buyer.

“I actually wasn’t planning on running the Shootout but my buddy Mitch Cleary from Over Kill Motorsports talked me into it and put up the $1,000 entry fee so I gave it a whirl,” Jeg said. “Five rounds later we had it done. 

“There were 32 entries and only a few of us had door cars, but wouldn’t you know it one of those door cars ended up on top and it was my Chevy II wagon. I decided to run it because I’ve just got so much confidence in that car at the moment. Everything worked out great.”

As usual, Coughlin was a killer at the tree, averaging a .005-second reaction time in the race. His best light came when he needed it the most, in the final round against Todd “Bones” Ewing, when he left with a near-perfect .001-second launch.

“The pressure was off a little in the final because we sold the dragster before the race and decided to beef up both the winner and runner-up money,” Coughlin said. “But whenever Bones and me race, it’s always a thrill. We go hard at it.”

Coughlin’s share ended up being $13,500, while Ewing pocketed $10,000.

T.J. survived eight grueling rounds in Sunday’s $7,500 race to finish third overall, his best outing of the weekend. He was one of only three racers to advance to the semifinals only to lose in a nail-biter by just a few thousandths of a second.

“The other guy went .011 on the tree and I was .013,” T.J. said. “That was the difference. I just got beat. It was wild racing eight rounds. They allowed buybacks and a lot of people were buying back in, but that made it more challenging.”

For his efforts, T.J. pocketed $1,000.

Although fairly new to bracket racing, NHRA national event champion Samantha Coughlin started the weekend off on a high note by racing to the fifth round.

“Aunt Sam is doing great in her car,” T.J. noted. “She’ll be a world champion one day; mark my words.”


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