COLUMBUS, Ohio (April 30) — The thrill of competing in front of a hometown crowd filled with family, friends and fellow associates of JEGS High Performance awaits Team JEGS drag racers Mike Coughlin, Troy Coughlin Jr. and Paige Coughlin at this weekend's 17th annual NHRA Buckeye Nationals.
The group will contest both the Top Dragster and Super Comp categories at the event, which is the first regional race of the year on the North Central Division schedule.
"I'm searching for a run of good luck and I can't think of a better place to start that than National Trail," said Mike, who will be racing his JEGS.com-branded Top Dragster. "This is actually our third race of the year and our car has been great. We just haven't had any luck. That's not for lack of effort or talent. Everyone is doing what they're supposed to be doing and the dragster is very fast and consistent.
"I made my first ever passes at National Trail and I've definitely been down that quarter-mile more than any other one in the world. We were just there a week ago for the track's first race of the season and Jay Livingston (track owner) and his staff have done so much to improve the facility. My son Clay was racing his Junior Dragster and everything looked great. I'm excited to get started myself and look forward to racing with my niece and nephew."
Mike is assisted by longtime Team JEGS crewmen Justin Beaver, Greg Cody, Tony Collier, Ryan Micke and Dave Rourke. Beaver and Collier also help Troy Jr. and Paige in their Super Comp dragsters.
Regional Top Alcohol Dragster champion Troy Jr. will step away from his regular ride — the JEGS.com McPhillips Racing TAD — to compete this weekend. Troy Jr. has earned six national and six divisional victories in his career, including the 2014 JEGS SPORTSnationals Super Gas title at National Trail Raceway.
"There’s no place like home and racing with some of my family members brings up tons of wonderful childhood memories for me, especially at National Trails," Troy Jr. said. "I am really excited at what Jay and his staff have in the works for the facility. I know there are lots of great things coming.
"It's an extra big weekend for me personally because my wife Brenna is graduating from nursing school Saturday so I’ll be really busy between the races and her ceremony. She’s worked so hard at getting her BSN. I’m very proud of her and looking forward to celebrating this accomplishment with her."
Paige hasn't driven her JEGS.com Super Comp dragster since starting her collegiate career at the University of Miami-Ohio last August, but says a recent test session at National Trail Raceway helped get her back into competition mode.
"I don’t feel too nervous yet but it's only Monday," Paige said. "I know the car is ready to go and it looks awesome. I'm pretty excited to be coming back because I haven't competed in a race since last August.
"We had a great day of testing last Wednesday at NTR and Justin and Tony were super happy with everything. They changed some things on the car over the winter to make it more consistent and it ran really well so we're all excited to get back to real racing. We have lots of plans for the summer race season and it all starts now."
A double-major studying psychology and strategic communications, Paige is the third child of three-time Pro Mod world champion Troy Coughlin and his wife Julie, the younger sister of Troy Coughlin Jr. and the niece of Mike Coughlin.