GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 7) — Beginning his 20th year of drag racing, Troy Coughlin has experienced much of what can happen on the quarter-mile. From unbridled successes to frustrating failures, the 43-year-old veteran from Delaware, Ohio, has seen the peaks and valleys of the sport first-hand. So when he makes a statement about the current status of his race team, it tends to carry a lot of weight.

“This might be the best position I’ve ever been in at the start of a season,” Coughlin enthusiastically said. “I can’t wait to get started.”

A winner at virtually every level of the sport, Coughlin knows the only thing missing from his resume is a world championship. He also knows how special it would be to change that in 2008 in a challenging series his family business now sponsors — the JEGS ProMod Challenge.

JEGS Mail Order, a giant in the high performance parts business, recently took over title sponsorship of the 7-year-old exhibition series, which will conduct 10 races at select NHRA events in 2008. In a short amount of time, Coughlin’s group has assembled a field of 24 top-notch drivers and cars for the upcoming 39th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals and has re-organized the series from the ground up, including adding a popular Web site — — which serves as home base for the circuit.

“It’s been a big hit so far,” Coughlin said. “The racers involved in this series are all very cool and they seem to be really happy with what we’re doing. The main thing is we all want to have fun and the way we do that in this sport is to go out there and race as hard as we possibly can in a fair and safe environment. Everyone has already shown me they’re committed to that goal.

“We’ve seen plenty of media attention, which also is exciting, and the NHRA is happy and supportive with everything we’ve done so far. We’re off to a great start.”

Coughlin’s own race team has launched hard itself with a strong test session in Phoenix lifting the expectations of everyone on the team.

“We went out to Phoenix last week and tested with [engine supplier] Brad Anderson and his two drivers, Jay and Shelly Payne,” Coughlin said. “From the start, our Pontiac GTO was right there with them on the time slips and that’s awesome because Jay and Shelly are two of the best drivers in the class.

“I didn’t know Brad very well but when we decided to go with his engines this year he immediately said he wanted to help us adapt as quickly as possible. He was true to his word and I was so impressed with him in our short time together in Phoenix. I’m excited and honored to be working with Brad this year. He’s a real pro.

“The guys are pumped up. We have a nice supply of spare parts all lined up and ready to go and the car is totally prepared for action. I can’t wait to get to Gainesville, race with my brother Jeg, and kick-off the JEGS ProMod Challenge. It’s also the fifth anniversary of the JEGS Foundation: Racing for Cancer Research program so there are million reasons to be excited, not the least of which is the probability it won’t be snowing in Gainesville.”

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