CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 21) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. has visited the winner's circle at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park two times in the past, and if things go the way he's expecting at this weekend's 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, his JEGS.com Chevrolet Camaro will find its way back to that hallowed ground.
"Phoenix is a great place and the fans there always have a good time when we're in town so it's definitely fun to visit," Coughlin said. "As a family, we visit the area fairly often. We love Scottsdale and all the sights and attractions around town. There's a very cool vibe to Phoenix, and that comes from the people.
"Of course, the other side of town where that drag strip is located, over there in Chandler, well we certainly love that place as well. Having won there in the past adds to the story of the track for us and we'd love nothing more than to go four rounds this Sunday and win this race once again."
Coughlin, a five-time Pro Stock world champion, raced to glory in the Arizona desert in both 2000 and 2009. His familiarity with the racetrack combined with a successful test session there a few weeks ago before the start of the season has the 76-time national event winner dreaming big.
"If I sound excited it's because I really am pumped up about going to the races this year," Coughlin said. "We've got a great car, a great team that has a lot of fun together, and we know how to win, so definitely we have all the pieces in place.
"Testing at Wild Horse Pass went extremely well even though for me it was the first time I'd ever been in this brand-new Rick Jones-built Camaro. Prior to that, my teammate Erica Enders and one of our talented crew chiefs, Lump (Brian Self), had made all the test passes. So my 2017 journey truly began in Phoenix. I'd love to add a win there to the equation and I feel we have every chance to do that.
"We left Pomona knowing there were a few minor things we could do get the car a little more efficient and those changes have been made. We are fully prepared to race."
Aside from wheeling his Pro Stock car, Coughlin once again will be racing in the Super Gas category in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Corvette Roadster.
When he's not racing himself, Coughlin will be supporting his nephew Troy Coughlin Jr., a rookie in the Top Fuel class racing for Kalitta Motorsports in the SealMaster dragster.
"What I love most about the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is there are 24 races, which makes for 24 opportunities to learn how to win as a group," Troy Jr. said. "I'm ecstatic about heading to head to Phoenix with the SealMaster Toyota boys and continuing our journey for a championship."
Although they'll have to do so on TV, both Jeg Jr. and Troy Jr. will be cheering on family member Cody Coughlin, who will be starting his season at Daytona International Speedway in the Camping World Truck Series. Cody is the son of John Coughlin, one of four brothers that own and operate JEGS High Performance.
Professional qualifying sessions for the 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals are scheduled for 1:30 and 4 p.m. MT, Friday and Saturday, with eliminations starting at 11 a.m. MT, Sunday. Television coverage on FOX Sports 1 begins with two qualifying shows from 10-11 p.m. MT, Friday, and 10-11 p.m. MT, Saturday, followed by three hours of elimination action from 4-7 p.m. MT, Sunday.