ST. LOUIS (April 26) — Sports fans in St. Louis are partial to Cardinal Red, but four-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. is hoping to change their preferences to the yellow and black of JEGS High Performance, at least for a weekend.

Coughlin enters the upcoming 14th annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, which run Friday through Sunday at Gateway International Raceway, as the defending champion of the event. He’ll be joined in the pits by JEGS Racing teammates Troy Coughlin Sr., Troy Coughlin Jr., and Samantha Kenny.

“There’s going to be a lot of yellow and black running up and down the St. Louis strip, and that’s always fun,” Coughlin said. “Plus, Pops (Hall of Famer Jeg Coughlin Sr.) is coming along as well so we’ve got a big group.

“It’s always exciting to enter an event at the defending champion. We had a great season last year and St. Louis was a part of that, for sure. It’s a great facility, a great city, and the fans are some of the most enthusiastic on tour. People in St. Louis love their sports, and they know how to enjoy themselves, so it’s a great atmosphere.”

Just two races ago, Coughlin came out on top of the Pro Stock heap when he collected the hardware in Houston. The victory was the 62nd of his career and 49th in the Pro Stock class.

“We’ve come onto some things over the last three races that really picked up our performance,” said Coughlin, who also won St. Louis in 2002 and 1997. “We’re still searching for efficiency in getting the car through the first 100 feet of the track, and we have a quick test planned at Farmington (N.C.) Dragway to try and sort that out some more, but overall we’re very pleased with the racecar right now.

“We’re vying for our 63rd national win, 50th in Pro Stock, so it will be the second time to hit the 50-win mark. That’s something very few people have done so I can see why it’s a big deal. To me, it’s a mark of the successes we’ve had as a team and an organization.”

When Coughlin’s not driving his Chevrolet Cobalt, he’ll be rooting for his brother Troy Sr., who runs in Pro Mod, and assisting his nephew Troy Jr. and fiancĂ© Samantha Kenny in their Super Comp dragsters.

“I raced Sam’s dragster in Bristol this past weekend and made 25 runs or so,” Jeg Jr. said. “I think we really have that car figured out so she can concentrate on driving and winning rounds.

“The last time I raced with Troy Jr. was in October in Las Vegas and he won his first national event there so hopefully we can keep that good karma rolling. He’s a great racecar driver and I’ll be there to help him in any way possible.”

Qualifying rounds begin at 3:15 and 5:45 p.m. Friday.


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