On Monday, T.J., as his friends and family know him, joined his famous father, uncles, and grandfather as a U.S. Nationals winner when the 20-year-old took the Super Comp title in Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series action at O’Reilly Raceway Park.
“You’ve got to focus from the minute you get here on Tuesday until the minute you leave on Monday,” Coughlin said. “Even now, I’ve already won the race, but I’m still thinking about the run I had. That’s the mindset it takes.”
Coughlin beat 72 qualified drivers across eight rounds of competition to bring home his second career national event Wally.
The day culminated in the finals against Don O’Neal. Racing on a 8.90-second index, Coughlin had a .032-second reaction time and ran a 8.921-second pass in the JEGS.com dragster to take the win over O’Neal, who logged a .046 light and lap of 8.954 seconds.
“The final was a great race; it came down to the last 200-300 feet,” Coughlin said. “He was a little bit later than I was, and I was pretty fortunate in that case. We just came out on top at the end of the day.
“It’s cool to have my dad, my sister Megan, and grandfather here with me. My mom was at home listening on the computer, and I know the hard work of 350-plus JEGS employees back home got me here too, and I thank them as well.”
Although the magnitude of the victory hadn’t quite sunk in, Coughlin has a good idea where his newest trophy will go.
“I’ve got a red chest in my apartment with just about enough room to put four trophies on,” he said. “I’ve got my trophy from Vegas last year on the left, I’ll put this one and the right, with my little center trophy in the middle.
“This trophy will be going to a good home, especially in here (as he pointed to his heart). I’m probably not going to sleep at all tonight. I guess it’ll all sink in eventually.”
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