BELLE ROSE, La. (March 14) –   For Team JEGS drivers Mike and Troy Coughlin Jr., the weekend of March 15-18 has long been circled on their calendars as the date marks the 8th annual JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals at No Problem Raceway Park. The event is a longtime favorite of racers and fans alike and the Coughlin’s are no exception as they anxiously look forward to their annual trip to Cajun Country, where the pit area camaraderie and the food are nearly as important as the on-track action.


The 2012 JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals will mark the season-debut for Mike behind the wheel of his 210-mph Top Sportsman Chevy Cobalt. Coughlin has a very successful track record in JEGS SPORTSnationals events including the Belle Rose race where he has a Super Comp victory in 2005 and a runner-up in Top Sportsman in 2009.


“I don’t need to tell anyone how much I love this race,” said Mike. “Everyone who knows me already knows that I look forward to this trip every year. We love the friendly people and the smell of crawfish boiling in the pit area. There just isn’t anything else like it in drag racing. This year, I’m bringing my son, Clay, along and we’re going to have a great time. Clay is seven now and he’s just about ready to start racing his Jr. Dragster so this should be a great trip for him. Jack will be staying home because of commitments to baseball and I know my wife Kriss and Jack we also have a special weekend together.”


Coughlin’s Jerry Bickel-built Cobalt is now entering its sixth season, but the car looks and feels brand new after an off-season makeover that included a complete rebuilt of the suspension and a fresh graphic design that highlights the familiar yellow and black JEGS Mail Order colors.


“This winter, we had the car in a million pieces all over the floor of our shop,” said Coughlin. “We worked on the chassis a little to make it more consistent. Once we got it back together, we went testing in West Palm Beach [Fla.] to make sure it all worked and it ran a 6.70 at over 210-mph which was exactly what we hoped it would run. My dad [Jeg Sr.] worked with Greg Cody and Tony Collier to solve some of the issues we had last season and I think they’ve really made a difference. It’s not really quicker than it was last year, but it does feel smoother and hopefully, it will be more consistent.”


Troy Coughlin Jr. was originally scheduled to make his 2012 debut at the Dixie House Café $50,000 E.T. bracket race at Memphis Int’l Raceway last weekend but, he’s had a change of plans after that event was postponed by rain. The third-generation racer will now take on the JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals behind the wheel of his dragsters in the Top Dragster and Super Comp classes. Coughlin has only pulled double-duty once before, at the 2011 JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals, but he says the experience has been invaluable.


“I feel like I’m ready to not only race two cars, but to win in both of them,” said T.J. “I think that racing two cars will help me maintain my focus. It’s like [baseball Hall of Famer] Yogi Berra said, ‘Baseball is 90-percent mental and the other half is physical.’ I feel the same way about racing. It’s all about focus and concentration.”


Much like his uncle Mike, Troy Jr. is also looking forward to the unique atmosphere of the JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals, which is expected to attract as many as 500 of the nation’s best sportsman drag racers.  


“It’s a shame that I didn’t get to race last weekend in Memphis but that has only made me more anxious to get the show on the road this weekend,” said Troy Jr. “ We tested both cars in West Palm Beach [Fla.] with my uncle Mike last week and they were both awesome. I’m especially excited to be racing uncle John’s Top Dragster. I ran 6.51 and 6.53 last week so I should be able to qualify in the top of the field. I’m also excited to have my dad, Troy, and my sister, Meghan, there with me. I don’t get to have them at the races too often so I really want to make the most if it and win one, or maybe even two Wally’s. That would be perfect.”




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