POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 7) — It surprised many when
"It's been a wild ride this year, starting right here in
"For a new team, I think we did well. We're not fighting for the championship this time through, which is a bit of a disappointment, but to make the Countdown field and have a respectable finish in the points in our first year is pretty darn good."
About the only people not surprised with Coughlin's strong start, aside from the veteran crewmen in JEGS uniforms, were the drag racing historians, who know Coughlin is one of the most prolific drag racers in
Since turning professional at the end of 1997, Coughlin has won six national events at the venerable old quarter-mile, and has an equal number of runner-up results. He won twice in 1999, and again in 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2007. He came in second place two times in 1998, and one time each in 2000, 2008, 2010 and 2012.
"My love affair with the Fairgrounds started back in 1992 when I clinched the Super Gas championship," Coughlin said. "Back then they used to parade the Sportsman champs down the return road at
"It's an electric atmosphere at both races. The Winternationals are fun because the year is so full of promise and everyone is dreaming big. All the new teams are there with new cars and new paint jobs. Then you get to the Finals and the battles for the various championships are at their peak. It's never boring at
Coughlin will actually have two chances to visit
"We've had some success with the dragster and I'm looking forward to running it again this weekend," Coughlin said. "Super Comp is always a tough category but we'll give it all we got and see what happens."
Sportsman qualifying starts at 8:15 a.m., Thursday. The first round of Pro Stock qualifying begins at 1 p.m., Thursday, and continues with a second round at 1 p.m., Friday, and two more sessions at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations start at noon, Sunday, with ESPN2 carrying all of the action.