With a roster of drivers that’s expected to top 400 entries this year, Coughlin will compete in both his JEGS.com dragster and his Chevy II wagon during all four days of the race. Up first is the Thursday warm-up, worth $10,000 to the winner, followed by Friday and Saturday’s main events, paying $20,000 each, with a final $10,000 race on Sunday.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of my dragster and my Chevy II wagon,” said Coughlin, who leads all of the professional categories with five victories this season. “It’s been exactly one year since I’ve done any bracket racing, ironically, at this very event. We had some great success last time through so if we can repeat our performances on this trip we could really have some fun.
“People think I’m crazy following up our first three-in-a-row of national events by going back out and racing some more but I love it. I certainly don’t think it hurts to keep your driving sharp and I know I’ll need to be perfect every round to beat the guys and girls that will be in Indy this weekend because this race always brings out the very best.”
Coughlin did well in last year’s event, taking Saturday’s main pot and leaving town with a total of $25,000. At the same time, race organizers got to know first-hand that having someone with Coughlin’s credentials in the field was a huge plus.
“Jeg is a true competitor who loves to race no matter what the stakes are,” said Ron Anderson, general manager of O’Reilly Raceway Park. “To have a racer of his stature at the JEGS U. S. Open Bracket Racing Championship shows the incredible popularity of the event and brings an added level excitement for the fans in attendance and those who will be racing against him on the track.”
Aside from having the family business as the title sponsor of the race, Coughlin is revved up about spending the weekend with his nephew Troy Coughlin Jr., or T.J., who will also compete in the event in his own JEGS-branded rail.
“T.J.’s becoming quite the racer himself and it will be fun to pit with him and spend some time together at the races,” Coughlin said. “Personally, I love the racetrack. As a Division 3 racer, I’ve competed there on a number of occasions and of course we have the U.S. Nationals there so it’s a place I know very well.
“We took home a nice paycheck last year so we’ll try to win some more this time around. This is classic, single-elimination drag racing and it’s intense. You run what you brung and hope you brung enough. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
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