COMMERCE, Ga. (May 2) – Despite suffering some growing pains during the NHRA tour’s visit to Texas last weekend, the Lone Star State could very well be the place where Pro Stock veteran Jeg Coughlin Jr. turned his season around.
The four-time Pro Stock champion, a winner of 52 national events in the class, isn’t used to dealing with this much adversity, but a pair of DNQs on his early-season ledger has Coughlin and crew searching for answers as the series turns to Atlanta Dragway.
“Having a brand-new team, we expected some adversity, but I’ll admit it’s been tougher than I thought it would be,” Coughlin said. “Everyone on the team has won multiple championships, so we’re used to getting better results. They’ll come; we just need to be patient.”
Coughlin and crew kept their JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger in Houston for a Monday test session to get his season back on track as quickly as possible.
“We had a team meeting Saturday night and we all decided to stay and test Monday in Houston,” Coughlin said. “Jerry Haas, who built the car, and Adam Lambert from Penske, stayed with us to help. We basically decided to start the test with a clean sheet of paper and see what we could do.”
The team focused on improving their launches and immediately got to work on the suspension, shocks, springs and weight transfer to insure they could get maximum horsepower through to the track on the green light.
“We started with 1.02-second 60-foot times and progressively got better each run, which was really encouraging,” Coughlin said. “The track was deteriorating a bit from race day but we still learned a bunch that I think we’ll be able to take with us to Atlanta. I’m hoping we will look back at this test at some point in the future and say, ‘That’s where it all started.'”
Perfect timing because the Peach State is a place where Coughlin has had success in the past, racing to victories at Atlanta Dragway in 2000 and 2010.
Because of that success, Coughlin will be on hand Wednesday night – with other POWERade and Full Throttle era drag racing champions – for a private “Champions Dinner” at the Coca-Cola headquarters near Atlanta.
“It’s a special night,” said Coughlin, who has won three championships since Coca-Cola joined the NHRA. “Just to be a part of this dinner is something I cherish. It’s fun to talk with the other drivers that have won championships with Coca-Cola and it’s a nice to talk with the Coca-Cola executives away from the racetrack. Coca-Cola has been doing it right for more than 100 years and it’s neat to see how they built the company into such a global brand.”
Just as he has at two other national events this year, Coughlin will race his JEGS.com HEMI-powered Drag Pak Dodge Challenger in the Stock class this weekend in addition to his duties with the Pro Stock team.
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