DENVER (July 18) — Representing his main sponsor at the company's title race — this weekend's Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway — is something five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. takes seriously, but don't think he's not going to enjoy every minute of the weekend.
"I love Denver and I'm busting with pride to represent Mopar, Dodge and Magneti Marelli throughout the weekend," Coughlin said. "We do our best to put them in a positive spotlight every race but we know this one is really big for them so it makes it vitally important for us.
"It's also a special weekend because of our long-standing relationship with the Bandimere family. Like my family, the Bandimeres have lived and breathed drag racing for decades and they work hard to make this a memorable weekend and it always is, both for the drivers and the fans. I expect no different this time through."
Representatives from both Mopar and Bandimere Speedway will be keeping Coughlin busy with numerous activities to promote the big weekend. Coughlin starts Thursday morning with the annual Race to Read Golf Tournament, which benefits the Bandimere's wildly successful charity program that encourages children to read. Then it's off to the press conference to meet with members of the local media.
Finally, the always popular Big Block Party in downtown Golden, Colo., will offer fans a chance to mix and mingle with numerous stars of the NHRA circuit, with Coughlin and teammate Erica Enders leading the festivities.
"We'll be busy for sure, and we haven't even talked about the race itself, which should be a lot of fun," Coughlin said. "This is a big event as it's going to be live on the FOX network, so if there's ever a time to put our best foot forward, this is it. We're also looking at the start of the Western Swing, a pretty vital time to prepare for the Countdown to the Championship.
"The work put in from this Elite Motorsports crew has been phenomenal to see. There's little doubt these guys have an unparalleled passion for winning and I can see why they won the last two championships with my teammate Erica Enders. We're still finding our way but everyone knows it's time to mash the gas and make a move. We'll be ready."
Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 5 and 7:30 p.m., Friday, and 4 and 6:30 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations start at noon, Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will air qualifying action from 6-7 p.m., Friday, and 9-10 p.m., Saturday. FOX will carry eliminations live from 1-4 p.m., Sunday. (All times listed in MDT).