JEG COUGHLIN

 

 

           

NHRA Media – MICHAEL PADIAN:   Jeg, driver of the JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt.   Jeg has won four NHRA Full Throttle World Championships overall, including each of the last two.   In the 2009 regular season, he led all drivers in wins with seven, and in round‑wins with 47.   He enters the playoffs fresh off of two straight wins and eight consecutive round‑wins.  

           

Jeg, like Eddie who came from off the pace last year entering the Countdown, you have come off the pace to win each of your two titles in the Countdown era.   Now that you’re in the first place, any different strategy for the JEGS.com team?

 

           

JEG COUGHLIN:  

 

No, I don’t think so.   We look forward to heading into the Countdown to 1 championship, obviously this weekend at Charlotte.

 

           

The team, we have discussed our strategy at the conclusion of the 2008 championship run, how we wanted to approach the 2009 season and how we ideally will approach the 2009 Countdown season.   So you know, we are really just looking to minimize any mistakes we can.   It’s a six‑race stretch that could be a do‑or‑die situation.

 

           

You know, our goal is not to make any mistakes that can cost us being able to get the car to the starting line or get it down the racetrack, and you know, be able to put myself in a position to get out and do what I love to do, and that’s try to work hard to turn the win right on.

           

But it’s going to take an extremely strong run.   We have got such a powerful contingent of cars running at the top of the pro stock pack right now and we have had some great, great fortune.   As you’ve mentioned, we have led the pace with race wins this year and for that to continue is going to take some good fortune still, and some good, old‑fashioned racing, so looking forward to it.

 

             

Q.   Talking about the qualifying points deal, are you concerned about this at all?   I know qualifying has not been the strongest suit for your car, or do you figure that race wins take care of all that because of points being what they are three, two, one, per session?

           

JEG COUGHLIN:   It can definitely have an impact on points earned without question.   As you mentioned, qualifying has not been our strong suit, but I think that’s for a couple of reasons.   One, we are not a team that likes to spend additional money and resources on going out and testing during the season, and sometimes during ‑‑ in Pro Stock and I think Pro Stock Bike, we can say this, and it doesn’t impact our fan experience, either, that are at the track, because races are a great run to us.   A bad run to us is within two or three hundredth of a second and it’s still a great side‑by‑side run, and as a team we can gather some great data.

 

           

On the Fuel cars, the make or break can be enough smoke or a ball of fire, and that can certainly impact the fan experience.  

 

           

So I think the points that have been added to the Countdown here is certainly an interesting addition to the Countdown.   I think it’s exciting.   We certainly will approach and already have approached Charlotte, slightly different.   We are typically a team that would come in on the conservative side and work our tuneup and set up, by Q3 and Q4, we are typically in the Top‑5 or better in those sessions, typically.

           

I feel like with our approach, we’ll approach it slightly differently coming into Friday’s session and I think with the four straight races, it doesn’t really allow us to go out and do much testing in between the races, maybe fine‑tune on some things.   But I’ve got a strong group of team members that will get this Jegs.com Chevy flying.   But it’s going to be interesting to say the least.   And fortunately, we are starting in the top spot and we may need some of those points, but we’ll see.

 

 

           

JEG COUGHLIN:   It can definitely have an impact on points earned without question.   As you mentioned, qualifying has not been our strong suit, but I think that’s for a couple of reasons.   One, we are not a team that likes to spend additional money and resources on going out and testing during the season, and sometimes during ‑‑ in Pro Stock and I think Pro Stock Bike, we can say this, and it doesn’t impact our fan experience, either, that are at the track, because races are a great run to us.   A bad run to us is within two or three hundredth of a second and it’s still a great side‑by‑side run, and as a team we can gather some great data.

 

           

On the Fuel cars, the make or break can be enough smoke or a ball of fire, and that can certainly impact the fan experience.  

 

           

So I think the points that have been added to the Countdown here is certainly an interesting addition to the Countdown.   I think it’s exciting.   We certainly will approach and already have approached Charlotte, slightly different.   We are typically a team that would come in on the conservative side and work our tuneup and set up, by Q3 and Q4, we are typically in the Top‑5 or better in those sessions, typically.

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I feel like with our approach, we’ll approach it slightly differently coming into Friday’s session and I think with the four straight races, it doesn’t really allow us to go out and do much testing in between the races, maybe fine‑tune on some things.   But I’ve got a strong group of team members that will get this Jegs.com Chevy flying.   But it’s going to be interesting to say the least.   And fortunately, we are starting in the top spot and we may need some of those points, but we’ll see.

 

 

Q.   Jeg, the whole thing with the new qualifying points system, you guys have always approached qualifying in a certain way, and now you have to change how you do that.   Do you think it was something that really needed to be done?

 

           

JEG COUGHLIN:   Well, I don’t think it is certainly anything negative that’s been done, but it’s a new opportunity that’s presented itself to the Countdown and to all of us competitors.

 

           

So it’s part of the rules and something we’ll just work with.   You know, we are typically an extremely strong team on race day, and I think we’ll filter some of that backward toward Friday and approach it just slightly differently.   So was it necessary?   I think it’s exciting, as Eddie just mentioned.   The goal is to build excitement and to prove on track excitement, as well.   So certainly see it being a win/win for the down the and for the Full Throttle championships as they will wrap up the 2009 season.

 

 

 

Q.   Jeg, are you surprised that some of your perennial key rivals have struggled a little bit like with red lights, and do you worry that they might be peeking at the right time for them?

 

           

JEG COUGHLIN:   You know, we certainly can’t control that, good question, we can’t control what our competitors are doing.   Our goal, like I mentioned earlier, is to make sure that our car is as best prepared as we can, the guys in the shop, Stevie Johns, and everybody has been working on horsepower which is extremely crucial.   We have some new enhancements that have filtered into the car over the last two races and we have done extremely well.

 

 

So Mike Edwards has certainly been leading the performance trends of the entire 2009 season, whether it was first round, second round, Q1, Q2, I think we have seen Greg Anderson struggle a little; I think that’s been surprising to the masses without question.   But what he’s missed, his teammate, Jason Line, has certainly picked up.

 

           

I think more, when you look further at the Countdown to one, and the remainder of the drivers, you have got Alan Johnson back there that has not made as much noise as I think we are going to see in some of his teammates, so it’s going to be exciting, without question.   You know, that’s what makes this Full Throttle championship so important and so special, is because we are on the edge of our seat now, not just the fans.   You have got the crew chief right on the edge.   You have got the drivers and the riders right on the edge.   It’s game time.   There’s no looking back, and this is what the whole year is set up for and that’s what makes it the most exciting.   Obviously for us at JEGS and JEGS.com, we would like nothing more than to win our third straight championship.

           

So stay tuned.   This is going to be a heck of a ride.

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