That feeling is never stronger than when Coughlin pulls into at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, the site of this weekend’s season-ending 46th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals.
“There’s something magical about Pomona,” the 40-year-old driver of the JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt said. “I think there’s been so much history made there, so many special moments, so many legendary drag racers running down that strip. I’m getting goosebumps right now just talking about it.
“If you’re a drag racer, I can assure you from personal experience that your blood starts pumping when you pull through the gates of that racetrack. You can’t help it.”
For all of the affection the second-generation driver has for the facility, Pomona has rewarded the son of Hall of Fame member Jeg Coughlin Sr. with six Pro Stock victories over the years, making it one of his favorite places on tour.
“Whether it’s the start of a new season when everyone is dreaming big or the Finals when the Full Throttle and Lucas Oil Series titles are on the line, there’s always an excitement in the air,” Coughlin said. “It all started for me back in 1992 when I clinched the Super Gas title and towed back in front of the stands. I just felt so much love and appreciation from the fans that day. I’ve been crazy about the place ever since.”
For the fourth time this year Coughlin will race Super Comp in addition to Pro Stock, giving him two chances to leave So-Cal with another trophy. Should he win the Super Comp class he will become the first driver in history to win an NHRA national event title in six different classes. He already has wins in Pro Stock, Comp, Super Stock, Super Gas, and Top Dragster.
“We’d love to close strong,” Coughlin said. “I can tell you from past experiences that closing out the year with a victory makes the off-season much more enjoyable.
“The Pro Stock car was running strong in Vegas and we had a chance to run for the title so that’s all you can ask for as a driver. The JEGS.com Super Comp dragster has been spot-on all year. That’s just a matter of everything lining up correctly and the driver not making any mistakes.”
Sportsman qualifying begins at 8:15 a.m. Thursday morning. Pro Stock qualifying begins at 1:30 p.m. All action will be shown on ESPN2 and ESPN.
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