BELLE ROSE, La. (March 17) – throughout his career, Mike Coughlin has had a lot of success at many different races across the country, but he often saves his best work for the JEGS SPORTSnationals events. For three consecutive years from 2005 to 2007, Mike was crowned as the champion at the JEGS SPORTSnationals, a special series of events that showcases the exciting competition of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. Mike won the Super Comp crown at the JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals in 2005 and followed that win with back-to-back titles in the Top Sportsman class at the JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals in Columbus, Ohio.

As he heads to Belle Rose, La., for this weekend’s JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals at No Problem Raceway Park, Mike will seek to add a fourth title to his collection, in what could be his swan song in the Top Sportsman class.

“I’m building a new dragster to race in the Top Dragster class but it isn’t ready yet, so I’m going to Belle Rose to try and get one more Top Sportsman win in my Cobalt,” said Mike. “This car has been very good to me over the past couple of years and I hate to part with it but I felt the time was right to try something different. I have always been partial to dragsters and I’m looking forward to getting back into one.

“I have been fortunate to have a lot of success at these races over the years and I’d love nothing more than to get one more win here. I’m sure that a win in Belle Rose would help me sell this car very quickly.”

Top Sportsman is one of the newest classes on the NHRA landscape. It features a 32-car qualified field of full bodied cars racing in an E.T. bracket style format. Nearly all Top Sportsman entries run in the 7-second zone, and several, like Coughlin’s Chevy Cobalt, are capable of running in the sixes at speeds of over 200-mph. With a world class field of drivers expected in Belle Rose, Coughlin, who won the North Central Division Top Sportsman championship in 2007, knows that he will need to be at the top of his game in order to collect the NHRA Wally trophy on Sunday afternoon.

“This race usually attracts a big field and there are drivers from all over the country so it is a lot tougher than some of the other races we run during the year,” said Coughlin. “That’s okay because I like a challenge. The one thing about these [SPORTSnationals] races that I enjoy so much is that the competition on the track is extremely tough, yet the atmosphere in the pit area is very friendly. We always joke that this is just a big party that happens to be held during a major race but that is very close to the truth. The people in this part of the country love to cook and you usually don’t have to wander far from your trailer to find someone who is boiling crawfish or making some other sort of spicy Cajun dish. I have made a lot of friends in Belle Rose over the past few years, which is why this trip is one of the highlights of the season for me and my family.

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