NORWALK, Ohio (May 11) – Three weeks ago, Team JEGS drivers John and Mike Coughlin and their nephew, T.J., were primed and ready to kick off the 2010 North Central Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series at O’Reilly Raceway Park but Mother Nature had other ideas. The season opening event was plagued by rain and has been re-scheduled for May 21-22.
In the meantime, the Coughlin clan will get another chance to add to the family trophy case at this weekend’s Lucas Oil Series race in Norwalk, Ohio. Following the same game plan they had for the Indy race, John will be racing in Comp and Top Dragster, Mike will be competing in Top Sportsman while T.J., plans to race his dragster in Super Comp. The Coughlin’s will also be joined in Norwalk by Samantha Kenny, who is the fiancée of their younger brother, Jeg, who will be spending the weekend racing in Pro Stock and Stock classes at the NHRA national event in Atlanta.
“This is a busy time of year for us, that’s for sure,” said John. “We were ready to go at Indy, but now I would say that we are even more ready. We just put a new engine in my Comp car and I believe it is better than the one it replaced. I got one run at Indy and was qualified No. 7 but this time, I think we can be in the top four or five.”
John hasn’t raced his Top Dragster since Indy but brother Jeg has and he claimed his 63rd career national event title behind the wheel of the 200-mph dragster at the recent AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals in Madison, Ill..
“Jeg just won in my car and the last time I raced it in 2009, I won so we know it is a great car,” said John, who is the reigning North Central Division Top Dragster series champion. “We had a small electric problem with the car but obviously it is fixed now. I have a lot of confidence in both of my cars and a lot of confidence in the crew that we’ve got which allows me to focus on driving. I still have a chance to qualify for the JEGS Allstars race in Chicago so that’s definitely something to shoot for this weekend.”
For Mike, the 2009 North Central Division Top Sportsman champ, the Norwalk event will mark the second event in his title defense. He also competed in the JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals, posting a round two finish.
“My car was good to go at Indy and we haven’t changed anything so it’s good to go again this weekend,” said Mike. “I got to make one qualifying run at Indy and it ran a 6.81 at 205-mph which is about what it should have run. The track in Norwalk is very good, especially for fast cars, and the weather forecast is favorable so we might even run in the 6.6s, which should put us in the top half of the field for sure.”
T.J., who has competed at the national events in Belle Rose, Concord, and Madison, this year, is also itching for his first taste of action within his home division.
“My ace crew chief, Kenny Underwood, and I are ready to go racing,” said the 19-year old third-generation racer. “I’ve been out a few times this year but I haven’t really raced enough to get in a good groove. Now, we have this race in Norwalk, followed by the re-run of the Indy race, and then we’ve got the Chicago national event coming up so I should be able to get a lot of seat time which is always important. It should be an exciting couple of months and I know my uncles and I are all looking forward to it.”
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