HOUSTON (March 21) — Pro Stock racer Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s victory at the recently-completed Gatornationals on March 16 not only returned the reigning series champion to the POWERade points lead, it also moved him into a tie for ninth place on the all-time list of NHRA winners with 52 national event victories to his credit.

Being one of the 10 most prolific racers in a sport that’s been around for 57 years is a remarkable feat for a 37-year-old racer that didn’t begin racing in earnest until after earning his college degree. But the son of Top Fuel racer Jeg Coughlin Sr. seems to have a knack for driving down the quarter-mile, as witnessed by his variety of wins. So far, Coughlin can claim national event victories in five different categories — Super Gas, Super Stock, Comp, Top Dragster, and Pro Stock.

“I’ve been fortunate to have had some great people around me from the start,” Coughlin said. “From my college buddies that helped me when I first strapped in a car back in the early ’90s to the awesome professionals at Victor Cagnazzi Racing that are behind me now, I’ve always been blessed to have great crewmen preparing my cars.

“The facts are you’re only as good as the equipment and people you have. Victor has assembled the best engine guys, chassis builders, and mechanical minds in our sport. The success we’re having this year, which is really just a carry-over from last year when we won it all, is attributable to all of them. I’m just the lucky guy that drives the car.”

After winning the preseason Pontiac Showdown in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt, Coughlin has recorded, in order, runner-up honors in Pomona, a third-place finish in Phoenix, and a win in Florida. The fast start already has him 46 points, or slightly more than two rounds of action, ahead of his nearest rival.

“We’re off and running but I look at the first three races and see three different winners,” Coughlin said. “I certainly believe we will see that trend continue because, once again, this class has so many great teams. We’ll have to find a way to stay at this high level of consistency we’ve displayed so far. The fight will be intense at every stop on tour.”

A four-time world champion, Coughlin should be up to the challenge at Houston Raceway Park when the POWERade Drag Racing Series returns March 28-30 for the 21st annual O’Reilly Spring NHRA Nationals. He’s a three-time winner at the southeast Texas speedplant, having won there in 1997, ’98, and 2000.

“My first win ever in Pro Stock came at HRP so it’s always been a favorite stop for me,” Coughlin said from his Delaware, Ohio, home. “The tracks right at sea-level and if the conditions are favorable, these Pro Stock cars can really fly there.

“I’ve always enjoyed the fans in Texas as well. They’re very knowledgeable about our sport and fill that place up every time we’re there. That’s exciting for all of us. I know we’re fired-up to keep this streak alive and try for another win.”

As far as his journey into the record books, Coughlin stays humble.

“I just don’t think about that stuff very much,” he said. “It was a big deal last year when we reached 50 because that’s a big number and it allowed us to enjoy a special moment in time but racers are never looking much further than the next event. There are times when I’m down in the basement and I’ll see a certain photo or trophy that reminds me of something, but it’s more about the memories for me than anything else. I guess when I retire I’ll look back and add it all up but right now I’m just enjoying the ride.”

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