SEATTLE (Aug. 1) — After a week of sampling the local product in California's legendary wine country, drag racing brothers Jeg Jr. and Mike Coughlin are headed farther north to feast on the seafood bounty of the historic port city of Seattle, while also keeping their eyes locked on two of the trophies up for grabs at this weekend's 32nd Magic Dry NHRA Nationals.
With just three races left before the start of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, Jeg Jr. hopes a strong finish to the regular season will propel him higher than his current seventh-place perch in Pro Stock. Meanwhile, Mike just wants to continue his hot streak in Top Dragster, where he leads the points in Division 3 and is ranked sixth in the nation.
"It's getting to the point where you really want to position yourself as well as you can before the playoffs start and the NHRA resets the points in the class," Jeg Jr. said. "We're really pleased with the way the JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro has been running and if not for a rare issue with the battery we experienced Sunday in Sonoma (Calif.) we'd be in even better shape than we are now.
"It was a fluky deal where we went up for Round 2 fully expecting to post another super-competitive pass and the battery failed on us. I don't recall too many times in my career when that's happened and it's actually tough to predict, especially when it worked just fine in the opening session, but that's drag racing. All it did is make us more anxious to gain back the little bit of ground we lost this past weekend."
Last year at Pacific Raceways, Jeg Jr. was quick to impress his rivals and fans by posting the best pass of the weekend — 6.501 seconds at 212.16 mph — to earn the No. 1 qualifying position. He's also a past winner at the facility, having taken the trophy from Seattle in 2002.
"The Pacific Northwest is such a beautiful part of the country and we always enjoy racing in Seattle and enjoying the city for a few days," Jeg Jr. said. "Having Mike along this year will make those dinners at our favorite seafood places around town even more special than it already is for us."
Jeg Jr. has one victory this season, having won the first Magic Dry race in Phoenix. Brother Mike, meanwhile, racked up back-to-back wins in the last month in his revamped JEGS.com Top Dragster, that now sports a new Fowler F12 roots-style blower made by Columbus, Ohio-based machinist Jeff Fowler.
"We're having a ball racing out here on the west coast," Mike said. "We're discovering new tracks, meeting new friends and competitors, and testing our ability to tune this thing at racetracks where we don't have any data. The good news is the setup we have is very forgiving and reacts really well to what we ask it to do.
"We lost a really close one last Saturday in Sonoma that was just a great straight-up race. Out of that race we learned this thing wants more boost when it gets hot so we'll be ready for that in Seattle. It's a simple pulley adjustment. We're really still learning this thing but we already agree it's the best combination we've ever run."