After a pair of late-round finishes at the recently completed season-opening North Central Division Lucas Oil Series event in Indianapolis, they are both solidly in contention for championships in their respective Top Sportsman and Super Comp divisions. Now, Mike and Samantha will resume the chase as the tour moves to the scenic Norwalk facility located just a couple of hours from the JEGS Mail Order headquarters in Delaware, Ohio.
“Norwalk is a great track and it seems to agree with fast cars like mine,” said Mike, whose JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt is routinely one of the quickest cars in the Top Sportsman class. “We haven’t made and changes to the car. The car was just about perfect the last time I drove it (in Indy) thanks to my dad, Jeg Sr., [crew chief] Greg Cody and Tony Collier, who helps me dial-it-in at the track.
“I have total faith in the car. It’s up to me not to make any mistakes as a driver and we should have a good weekend. Although I enjoy racing in Norwalk, I haven’t had a lot of success there over the years. I’m definitely looking to change that this time.
Mike will also be looking to finalize his spot on the roster for the upcoming JEGS Allstars event, which takes place on June 30 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. Mike currently holds a slight 11-point lead over Douglas Horne and a 13-point lead over John Scali in the Top Sportsman class. The prestigious JEGS Allstars event is a special completion for racers in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series. Racers from all over North America converge on Joliet to compete for team and individual honors and a share of the more than $100,000 payout.
“I had to work hard to get the points lead and now I don’t want to give it back,” Mike said. “This is the last chance to qualify for the JEGS Allstars race and that is my main priority at this event. Obviously, I’d like to win the race, but at this point, that’s a bonus. If I can lock up my spot on the Allstars team, I’ll be very happy Sunday night. I haven’t been in the JEGS Allstars race for a few years and it is such a neat deal. I’d love to be able to go back.”
Sister-in-law Samantha is coming off a quarterfinal finish at the Indianapolis race. Samantha, the newlywed wife of five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr., is currently ranked second in the Division 3 standings. The always-smiling lifelong racer is excited to return to Norwalk, the site of her first national event victory in 2009.
“I have a lot of great memories at this track and I hope we have a few more after this weekend,” she said. “Not only did I win my first national event here, but I also went to the semifinals in 2010 and won the Super Comp Shootout there last year. For some reason, I’ve always been able to win some rounds in Norwalk and I really want it to continue this weekend.
“I wasn’t happy with the way I drove at Indy, especially in the last couple of rounds. I relaxed too much and had a .029 light and that got me beat. I had a long talk with Jeg and he gave me some advice on a few things and that really helped point me in the right direction. I have all the confidence in the world in my car so it’s just up to me to go out and make it happen.”
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