DELAWARE, Ohio – Proving that his winless 2004 season was nothing more than a temporary bump in the road, Mike Coughlin bounced back in 2005 with one of the most successful seasons of his long career. Racing exclusively in the Super Comp class with his JEG’S Mail Order dragster, Coughlin won the Cajun SPORTSnationals in Belle Rose, La., and the Division 3 Lucas Oil Series race at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. He also earned a runner-up finish at the JEG’S Northern SPORTSnationals at the team’s home track, National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio.

“Last year, I made the decision to cut back to just one car, and to limit my travel schedule so that I would run just enough races to compete for a spot in the top ten,” said Coughlin. “I did this primarily because I wanted to spent more time with my family and working at our business, and it actually worked out very well for me. I was still able to race a lot and not get burned out.

“Overall, it was a great season but I struggled a little at the last couple of races and that cost me a spot in the top ten,” Coughlin continued. “I finished in 11th, and was just one point out of tenth place. I also had a good shot at the Division 3 championship at one point. I didn’t win it, but it was exciting to be in the hunt for most of the year. We kept working on our JEG’S Mail Order dragster and by mid-season, it was incredibly consistent. That car won a lot of rounds for me.”

Coughlin’s successful 2005 campaign has only served to fuel his enthusiasm for the upcoming season. Coughlin still plans on racing the JEG’S Mail Order dragster in Super Comp at a handful of events, but his primary focus will be on his newest project, a Jerry Bickel-built Chevy Cobalt that he plans to run in the rapidly-growing Top Sportsman class. Coughlin expects to take deliver of the slick new car in early February and plans to install a 622-cid engine from Reher-Morrison Racing and a Powerglide transmission. He expects the combination to run in the 7.0-second range at speed approaching 190-mph.

“It will definitely be faster than anything I’ve ever driven before,” said Coughlin, who previously ran in the 7.3s at over 180-mph in the Pro Stock Truck class. “Top Sportsman is such a cool class and it’s growing all the time. I’ve always enjoyed bracket racing and even though I like racing the dragster, I prefer race cars with doors.

“Right now, my plan is to race all the Division 3 Top Sportsman events and run the two JEG’S SPORTSnationals events in Belle Rose, La., and Columbus, Ohio. I’m also planning on racing in Super Comp with the dragster at the NHRA national events in Chicago and Columbus.”

Coughlin plans to test the new car in Georgia or Florida in mid-February and will likely enter his first event with it at the season-opening Division 3 Lucas Oil Series event at Indianapolis Raceway Park April 7-9.


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