Coughlin, known as T.J. to his friends and family, will have five chances to cash in over the course of the four-day event, which began yesterday at central Michigan facility.
Thursday and Sunday’s races pay $5,000 to the winner. On Friday there are two $10,000-to-win races. The main event takes place Saturday with the winner bagging a cool $50,000.
“If I was lucky enough to win any money I’d probably donate most of it to charity,” Coughlin said before the event. “I’m after the trophies. That’s what it’s all about for me right now.
“I’m excited to be here. This is one of those races where you just flat-out have fun all weekend long because you’re racing all day and night. I’ve been to a bunch of these with my Dad and my uncles. It’s neat to be the one in the car this time.”
The 19-year-old Coughlin and the men in yellow and black have adjusted the JEGS.com dragster John Coughlin drove to the 2007 Division 3 Top Dragster Championship to race in this event. T.J. is hoping his oldest uncle’s car still has lots of wins left in it.
“If I can hit the Christmas Tree and nail the finish line like I’ve been taught, I should be able to win some rounds,” T.J. said. “It’s tough because you look around the pits and you see all the big-time bracket racers here. You never know when you’re going to run into any of them. But you have to beat them all if you want to win so the more experience I can get against the good drivers, the better it is for me in the long run.
Action on the eighth-mile drag strip will be fast and furious all weekend. T.J. plans to contest all five races to gain as much seat time as possible.
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