POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 5) — It's just a coincidence that the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 54th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals in Southern California begin on the same day, but for five-time Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. the start of both events stirs great emotion.
Coughlin and JEGS, the high-performance parts company he co-owns with his three brothers, has supported the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project for many years. The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project built the sled the Americans rode to Gold at the Vancouver Games and once again has supplied the machine the Men's Four-Man team will use in Sochi.
It was through his relationship with Bo-Dyn founder Geoff Bodine that Coughlin was able to realize one of his dreams of attending the Olympics in person four years ago in Canada. He was there when the team won the first gold medal for the USA in 62 years.
"The sense of pride and patriotism is overwhelming when you're actually there on the massive stage of the Olympics," Coughlin said. "To watch the entire USA team do so well in Vancouver is something I will never forget. It was just a special feeling every step of the way.
"We watched a lot of bobsled, some Alpine skiing, ice dancing and hockey. Our friends at Oakley also invited us into the Athlete's Village and we were able to meet so many of these wonderful young people that work so incredibly hard to bring glory to our country. It was very emotional in the best possible way."
Although his primary focus this weekend will be on his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger and the beginning of his title defense in Pro Stock, Coughlin admits he'll be keeping a keen eye on the results coming in from Sochi.
"We've followed the team ever since we got involved with Geoff," Coughlin said. "We've even been lucky enough to have several of the athletes out to the races a few times. They are awesome men and women.
"I think the excitement for Sochi is very high. Steve Holcomb and his team seem to be peaking at the perfect time. They've won a bunch of world cup races this year in both four-man and two-man and took the overall gold so I'd say they are perfectly placed to defend the gold medal. The women will be right there as well. We'll definitely be cheering them on from home and wish them nothing but success."