LEXINGTON, Ohio (April 23) — Team JEGS racers Jeg and Troy Coughlin hosted Top Fuel racers Cory McClenathan and J.R. Todd Monday at their annual JEGS outing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The four drag racing stars and several of their friends, family, and media members, spent the day learning how to drive the school’s high-performance Acura TSX A-SPEC sport sedans. Retired Formula 1 driver and MOSCC instructor Tommy Byrne gave the group plenty of classroom instruction before turning them loose on the famous 15-turn, 2.4 mile road circuit.
“We have a lot of things we do each year with our various sponsors but nothing compares to JEGS Day at Mid-Ohio,” said McClenathan, a Team JEGS racer who put his Fram dragster in the winner’s circle of the last POWERade event in Las Vegas. “It’s something I look forward to even though, once again, I’m flat worn-out. I’m aching in places I didn’t even know could ache.”
Most of the group made 40 laps around the track, pushing their 205-horsepower i-VTEC engines to speeds in excess of 110 mph.
“We made 40 laps but it feels like 100,” McClenathan said. “It’s a workout, and it’s totally different than the kind of racing we do. We need to find that intense focus for two minutes or so to execute an entire run. That’s about what it takes to get around the course one time. The mental game is exhausting, let alone when you start racing each other. But it was a blast. I was giggling the whole day.”
McClenathan may be a veteran of the course but he cut no slack to newcomer Todd. According to witnesses, the old hand pushed the third-year pro all around the course.
“Cory Mac is all racer,” reigning Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin said. “We were out there at one point and I was a bit ahead so I thought I’d wait on J.R. and Cory to catch up so we could race around. Next thing I know they freight-trained me. They were up on the wheel getting after each other, just welded together, and I couldn’t keep up.
“It’s a great mental exercise. Your focus is certainly challenged and you have to learn how to be patient at the same time. I don’t know how it can’t do anything but help us with our drag racing. I’d do it every day if I could. It’s a great workout.”
The parent of a 17-year-old daughter, McClenathan was impressed with the world-class tutoring they received on the day.
“The instructors are fantastic,” McClenathan said. “You leave there knowing you’re a better driver because they teach you so much about how cars handle under a variety of circumstances we all encounter every day. I think any parent would benefit greatly from taking their kids through a course like this to teach them how to drive defensively and properly at all times. They emphasize safety in everything they do there and it’s very obvious how all the safety aspects they talk about transfer to the real world.”
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