DELAWARE, Ohio (May 6) — Competing in both the 38th annual NHRA Southern Nationals powered by Mello Yello at Atlanta Dragway in Georgia and the 16th annual NHRA Buckeye Fuel Wars in Ohio, Team JEGS racers were busy racking up elimination round wins this weekend.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock), his wife Samantha Coughlin (Super Gas), brother Mike Coughlin (Top Dragster) and niece Paige Coughlin (Super Comp) all reached the second round of action in their respective categories. Troy Coughlin Jr., meanwhile, went down fighting in Round 1.
After qualifying sixth overall with a 6.606 at 209.07 mph, Jeg Jr. was forced to race Elite Motorsports teammate Erica Enders in Round 1. In a race where both drivers posted their best passes of the weekend, Jeg Jr. got the victory, running a 6.593 at 208.23 mph against Enders' 6.611 at 209.56 mph.
Although he slowed in Round 2, he was still a few ticks quicker than opponent Tanner Gray, but lost due to Gray's .03-second advantage at the starting line. The final numbers had Gray winning with a 6.635 at 209.07 mph to Jeg Jr.'s 6.632 at 208.30 mph.
"Another encouraging weekend for the JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro team," Jeg Jr. said. "We had a great car and could have gone deeper into eliminations but ran into Tanner at the wrong time and he got enough on the Tree to beat us.
"It was nice to see our car qualify in the top half of the field for the third straight race and although it was our teammate that we beat in the first round, we were able to get that round win, which was no easy task considering she just won the Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte. Vincent (Nobile, another Elite racer) ended up winning so that's four races in a row for Elite. We remain very happy with the progress being made by the entire team."
Samantha used a reaction time advantage of .025 seconds to win the first round of Super Gas in her JEGS.com Corvette roadster, topping Ricky Purcell with a 9.914 at 158.59 mph to his 9.924 144.58 mph. She then lost a very close tilt against Lauren Freer, running a 9.912 at 162.74 mph to Freer's 9.907 at 165.56 mph. Both women had identical reaction times.
Also in action at Atlanta Dragway, Troy Jr. qualified in the top half of the field in his JEGS.com/McPhillips Racing Top Alcohol Dragster with a seventh-best 5.353 at 270.43 mph, and although he earned a huge starting line advantage of .028 seconds against Shane Conway, his day ended when his dragster lost traction.
"Just not our day but I love this team and this crew and I'm already looking forward to the next event when we line up for the Norwalk (Ohio) divisional race in two weeks," Troy Jr. said.
After making some minor adjustments during qualifying in an effort to make their JEGS.com Top Dragster more consistent at the launch, Mike and his longtime crew of Greg Cody, Dave Raurk, Ryan Micke and Tony Collier worked together to produce a second-round finish at the Division 3 opener at National Trail Raceway.
"The changes we made worked perfectly," Mike said. "We qualified third and were able to dial the car perfectly each round. I just flat-out got beat (in Round 2) despite running right on my dial. The other guy just had a better light than us and although mine wasn't bad, the few inches he gained on us at the start made the difference.
"We wanted more, and we were ready for more, but I still had a fun weekend racing with Paige. Plus, my son Clay, my wife Kriss and even my dad (Jeg Coughlin Sr.) came out so it was a great family weekend of drag racing. We'll clean everything up, do some general maintenance, and be ready for Norwalk (Ohio) in two weeks."
Like her uncles, Paige managed to tick off a round win in her Super Comp dragster before falling in the second session.
"The JEGS.com dragster was running great," Paige said. "My crew, Justin (Beaver) and Tony (Collier) worked hard for consistency all weekend even though we faced strong winds and rain delays a few times.
"First round I had Dean Mcilvain and we got the win light. Second round was a really tight race but it didn't end with our win light on. It was another great learning experience and we will move forward towards Norwalk."