HOUSTON (April 26) — Five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. has collected five of his 76 national event victories at Royal Purple Raceway, making it one of his favorite tracks on the NHRA Mello Yello tour. That's one of the main reasons he's pumped up to return for this weekend's 29th annual NHRA SpringNationals, but it's not the only one.
"I don't know that I've ever been more excited to get to Houston," Coughlin said. "Elite Motorsports has a special relationship with Stan and Sheila Holt and Stan's sons and their business, Lupe Tortilla Mexican Restaurants. They are jumping on board with us once again with my teammate Erica Enders' race car, and I know we'll be eating the best Tex-Mex food in the world all weekend. Not to mention the fact we get to hang out and race with Stan and Sheila, who run Stock, so I know we're going to have some fun no matter what.
"We're all anxious to get the blanket off this Magneti Marelli offered by Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Dart, free this thing up, and start running down the track with numbers that reflect the professionalism and history of this race team. I've got great history here and Erica won this race last year, so everything is playing to our hand."
Since switching to Dodge Darts and Hemi motors at the beginning of the year, the Elite Motorsports team, winners of the last two world titles with Enders, hasn't managed a victory as they get their race cars up to speed. Coughlin says it's only a matter of time.
"This sport is humbling and it's tough when you're used to going rounds a lot to take a step back, but we knew we'd experience this transitional phase at the start of the season and we knew it would take a little time," Coughlin said. "I have complete confidence in this team, and I know everyone is working at maximum capacity.
"The testing and dyno work we've put in recently is showing a lot of promise, and frankly we thought Charlotte would be our breakthrough race, but it'll have to be Houston, which suits me just fine. I remember vividly winning the 1994 race in Super Stock down there and also my first Pro Stock trophy ever in 1997. Those are memories I will always cherish, and I'm positive a win this year would match those wins in terms of importance."
Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. CT, Friday, and 1 and 3:30 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations start at noon, Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will carry qualifying action from 7 to 8 p.m., Friday, and 11 p.m. to midnight, Saturday. Eliminations will air from 4 to 7 p.m., Sunday.