Seven winners of the NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals are now eyeing an even bigger and much more elusive prize – the inaugural Jeg’s Crown trophy. The seven competitors – Mike Ashley, Michael Johnson, Hugh Meeks III, Jeff Strickland, Mike Coughlin, Scotty Richardson and Sid Norwood – who shared the winner’s circle at the recently completed second annual NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals at No Problem Raceway Park in Belle Rose, La, can win the Jeg’s Crown by claiming a second win at the Jeg’s Northern SportsNationals in Columbus, Ohio, July 28-31.

Any driver who sweeps both SPORTSnationals events can earn the Jeg’s Crown, a one-of-a-kind trophy that was handcrafted by artist Dan Dreisbach, who also works as a fabricator for Rahal Racing.

Capturing the Jeg’s Crown will not be an easy task for anyone, but one driver who appears to have the best chance is Mike Ashley, the winner of the AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod event in Belle Rose. Ashley has opened the season with three final round appearances with his Torco Race Fuels Mustang.

“First of all this is a beautiful trophy and anyone would be proud to own it,” said Ashley. “Winning one of these races is hard enough, but to win two would be extra special. Jeg’s is also big part of our team which makes it even more meaningful. Our team will probably do some testing in Columbus this summer; just to make sure we are prepared.”

For Super Comp champ Coughlin, the chance to win the Jeg’s Crown is especially rewarding since he is a member of the famed Coughlin family, who operate the Jeg’s Mail Order business.

“When we unveiled this trophy and saw how cool it was, we joked that it would be nice to keep it in-house,” said Coughlin, who won his first national event in more than a year when he claimed the Super Comp title in Belle Rose. “Now we have the opportunity to do just that. Winning this [Cajun SPORTSnationals] was great, but to win in Columbus, our home track, and to win the Jeg’s Crown would be the ultimate.”

Belle Rose Super Gas winner Richardson has won five NHRA national championships and has earned nearly every other major honor available to a sportsman racer during his Hall of Fame career. He agrees that the Jeg’s Crown would make a nice addition to his overstocked trophy case.

“It would be awesome to win both races and earn that trophy,” said Richardson. “Jeg’s has supported me throughout my career and in turn, I support anything that they’re involved in. I don’t race many NHRA national events anymore, but I am certainly planning to be in Columbus this summer.”

Some of the champions at the Cajun SPORTSnationals, including Comp winner Johnson, Super Stock champ Meeks, and Super Street victor Norwood, weren’t initially planning to attend the Northern SPORTSnationals, but they are now modifying their summer travel plans to include a trip to National Trail Raceway.

“Anytime you’ve got an opportunity to win something this prestigious, you’ve got to go for it,” said Johnson. “We’re definitely considering a trip to Ohio now. It would be quite an honor to win both events.”

Stock winner Strickland added, “Jeg’s has gone out of their way to make these [SPORTSnationals] events special. That [Jeg’s Crown] trophy is just another example of them going the extra mile for the racers. I didn’t think about the trophy until I won this weekend, but now I’ll be gunning for it in Columbus.”

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