BRAINERD, Minn. – Jeg Coughlin has earned two wins in three final round appearances at Brainerd International Raceway since 1999. During two of those years, Coughlin went on to earn the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock championship.

Maybe it’s a sign. Do well at Brainerd, earn the POWERade Pro Stock championship. After all, Greg Anderson picked up the victory at Brainerd in 2003 and he went on to win his first Pro Stock title.

Whether you believe in omens surrounding the Brainerd International Raceway facility or not, Coughlin wants to be in the winner’s circle when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series makes its annual trip to the state of Minnesota. The 23rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals will be held Aug. 12-15. Doug Kalitta, Gary Densham and Antron Brown join Anderson as the defending winners in their respective pro categories at the $1.9 million race, the 16th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. It is the 10th of 15 events for Pro Stock Bike competitors.

“Our goal and main focus is to get the car down the race track as consistently as possible,” Coughlin said. “We have a great car, great people and great parts. If we can become more consistent, we will get back to the top of the pack.”

After the first 14 events of the season Coughlin sits in the No. 6 spot in the Pro Stock standings with one runner-up finish (Gainesville).

“I think the transition to the new tire this year has been a little more difficult than we anticipated,” Coughlin said. “We’ve struggled with that a little bit. But we’re finding more horsepower and we have a great brain trust working on the cars. We’re starting to see the effort pay off here and there.”

Coughlin earned his first championship in 2000 when he collected 10 wins in 14 final round appearances. In 2002 he earned his series second title with eight victories in 10 final rounds. Since running a full schedule of events starting in 1998, Coughlin has finished outside the top three in the final POWERade point standings just once (fifth in 2001). He has never posted a winless season.

“We’ve been a top five car every year that we have been out here and that says a lot about our team,” Coughlin said. “When we won the championship in 2000, we didn’t defend that title in 2001. But the team rose back to the top in 2002, so we know we are capable of doing that again. Anything other than a top five performance and you know you need to pick it up and improve what you’re doing.

“Coming through a valley to reach the peak is more exciting anyway.”
Coughlin said he’s looking forward to making the trip to Minnesota again.

“Brainerd is one of the races where the fans come out in full force and they know racing and are very excited to see us,” Coughlin said. “The facility is very unique with the road course. It’s a great place and I always bring (son) Jeggie there. We have a great time.”


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