With five world championships and 66 national event wins during his amazing career, Jeg Coughlin Jr., has set the bar high which is why he can be forgiven if he feels his 2010 season, which featured five wins and a seventh place finish in the Pro Stock, was something less than a rousing success. After winning Pro Stock events in Houston, Atlanta, Sonoma and Brainerd, Coughlin entered the playoff phase of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship as the third ranked driver in the class but good fortune eluded him during the critical stretch drive and he finished a disappointing seventh.
“This season definitely had some bright spots, and I was happy with what we accomplished in Pro Stock car. “We had a good team and a good car and a lot of momentum going into countdown and then it was like a switch was hit and we didn’t perform well. We had engine problems and wound up chasing our tails. That was the only thing that put a damper on the season. Overall, we won four races and I think we had one of the better cars out there.”
While any of his four Pro Stock wins could be considered a season highlight, Coughlin is also justifiably proud of his performance at the NHRA O’Reilly Midwest Nationals in Madison, where he drove his brother, John’s JEGS.com entry to the Top Dragster title. At the same event, Jeg drove to a runner-up finish in Pro Stock and would almost certainly have completed a rare double victory had his car not broken in the final round.
“I’m not sure if the highlight for me was winning Top Dragster in St. Louis or winning Pro Stock in Sonoma,” said Coughlin. “They were both special wins. Racing’s John’s Top Dragster was a lot of fun, and I had to win some tough rounds. I nearly got that rare double but we broke on the starting line in Pro Stock so I guess it wasn’t meant to be. As for Sonoma, that track is awesome, the fans are unique and I really enjoy racing there.”
Late in the season, Coughlin made headlines when he announced that he would not be driving in the NHRA Pro Stock class in 2011. Instead, he plans to return to his first love, sportsman racing and will go all out with a new Super Gas entry and a new Undercover chassis dragster to join the Dodge Challenger DragPak entry he campaigned on a limited basis in Stock Eliminator this season. Without the responsibility of running all 22 NHRA Full Throttle Series events, Coughlin is free to race wherever and whenever he likes, which means he and his fiancée, Samantha, will also be able to participate in numerous big money bracket races. Coughlin last took a break from Pro Stock in 2006, and enjoyed tremendous success as a sportsman racer, winning some of the biggest and most prestigious E.T. bracket races in the country and banking more than $100,000 in prize money. He’s eager to see if he can duplicate that success in 2011.
“It would be a tall order to duplicate 2006, but I’m just going to go out and give it my best shot,” said Coughlin. “I’ve got a new dragster on the way and a Corvette roadster from Don Davis Race Cars for Super Gas that should be here any day now. When I look back at my career, the first thing I remember is my first win in Super Gas in 1990. That is still one of my favorite classes so I’m looking forward to getting back out there. For most of the year, I want to hit some of the big bracket races around the country. That’s one of the things I missed the most while I was racing in Pro Stock. And finally, I’d like to be at all three JEGS SPORTSnationals races. So yes, I won’t be racing in Pro Stock this year but I’ll still be plenty busy.”