CONCORD, N.C. (April 23) — Troy Coughlin Jr. is happy anytime he gets to race his JEGS.com McPhillips Racing Top Alcohol Dragster. That's especially the case when the NHRA tour visits zMAX Dragway in the Charlotte suburb of Concord, as it will this weekend for the 10th annual NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.
"The No. 1 coolest thing about this race is the fans," Coughlin said. "They are so passionate about racing — any kind of racing — and that's exactly the way I am. If it's got wheels and a motor, I'm interested.
"Charlotte fans are ones you remember year after year because they'll come up to say hello and they know everything about your season and your car. They ask really good questions because they're so into racing. I feel like I'm one of them because I'd be the exact same way if I wasn't here racing myself. I love it."
Coughlin also has great affection for the track itself as zMAX Dragway is widely recognized as one of the best on tour. Like all Bruton Smith-built facilities, the track surface is always smooth and the grounds are clean and welcoming for racers and fans alike.
The extra attention paid to the track usually makes for great racing, something that has Coughlin's attention, especially since he arrives in the Queen City coming off a strong performance in Houston where he qualified No. 2 and raced to a runner-up result.
"Rich and Rich Jr. (McPhillips) really had a handle on the tune-up in Houston and we gathered a bunch of good data we think will help a bunch this weekend," Coughlin said. "We'll be racing with a lot of confidence."
Being the busiest time of the year at the family business — JEGS High Performance — Coughlin is thankful for a dedicated staff of 400-plus associates back home in Delaware, Ohio, that allow him to chase his passion.
"Our people are just incredible," Coughlin said. "My dad and uncles have hired some of the best business-minded folks in the world and they make it very easy for all of us to take days off to race and market the JEGS brand. We can leave for a weekend knowing everything will be handled without missing a beat.
"I'm having a bunch of fun at work myself. I've been helping in the digital marketing department and that's a fast-paced world. Always getting the proper positioning on the Internet and making sure our customers are benefiting from the latest promotions and rebates offered by our vendors is really important and it's cool to learn all the inner workings of how it all comes together. I'm truly living the best of two worlds."