Div. 3 champion racers John and Mike Coughlin lead the Team JEGS charge, with John fighting for wins in both Top Dragster and Super Stock and Mike looking for glory in Top Sportsman. Third-generation upstart Troy Coughlin Jr. will be competing in Super Comp, while Norwalk winner Samantha Kenny will pilot the Super Comp rail of her fiancé, five-time world champion drag racer Jeg Coughlin Jr., who will be on hand to support his teammates.
“It’s a family affair and it’s going to be an awful lot of fun,” John said. “Beech Bend is one of my favorite tracks of all time and it’ll be even more special with the whole gang coming over. I’m excited to mix it up with everyone.”
John won the Top Dragster title at Beech Bend in 2007, the same year he won the Div. 3 title in that same category.
“We’ve got three races left in Top Dragster and we’re one round out of the lead at the moment so it’s getting down to it,” John said. “Obviously, a big weekend in that car could put us over the top.
“We’ve still got four races to go in Super Stock and we’re hanging around the top 10 so we’ve got a great chance to move up and make some noise. I don’t think that championship is out of the question by any means. It would be great to make up four or five rounds this weekend and it could happen with a strong showing.”
Although Mike has competed in just three Top Sportsman events this season, compared to five or more by most of his rivals, he’s still a solid seventh in the Div. 3 points. With a couple of races in hand, he’s hoping a hot streak down the stretch will help him match his ’07 championship run.
“We definitely have a great shot at winning another championship,” said Mike, who won the Super Comp class at Beech Bend back in 1989. “So far, we’ve had a runner-up, a semifinal, and a second-round finish so our average is pretty good. If we can continue to go rounds at every race we can move right into contention. That’s the plan, any way.
“We’ll get a real good test in Bowling Green because all the Div. 2, Div. 3, and Div. 4 hitters will be there getting ready for Indy. We’ll be ready for them.”
Troy Jr., or T.J. as his family and friends know him, is coming off a solid outing earlier this month in Michigan. The 19-year-old son of Troy Coughlin, and nephew to John, Mike, and Jeg Jr., is looking to hone his driving skills in Kentucky.
“I’ve been picking my uncle Jeg’s brain a little lately and he’s given me some great driving tips,” T.J. said. “I can’t wait to try them at a real race. If I can hit that tree like I know I’m capable of doing and pay attention at the top end, it could be a great weekend.
“It’ll be cool to have all my uncles there. I admire those guys so much and I’m proud to roll into the track with them. It’s an honor to be teammates with them, and Samantha too.”
Kenny will take the wheel of Jeg Jr.’s workhorse JEGS.com Super Comp that he’s driven to numerous wins at high dollar bracket races around the country. This will be her fourth event of the season.
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Scott “Woody” Woodruff
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