For all of his great success in drag racing, including 67 national event victories and five world championships, Jeg Coughlin never experienced a day like the one he enjoyed Sunday at the Ultimate 64 Shootout at Edgewater Sports Park. Driving his JEGS.com dragster and his classic ’67 Chevy II station wagon, Coughlin participated in four events and came away with three victories.
“In all the years I’ve raced, I never had a day like this,” said Coughlin. “This was something special. I was not on fire; in fact I made a couple of ugly runs, but I managed to get by. Once we got rolling, I didn’t think about too much other than the task at hand. The good thing about making so many runs is that you don’t have too many opportunities to get distracted.”
Coughlin began the day with a quarterfinal finish in the rain-delayed $50,000-to-win main event, losing a close race by just two thousandths of a second. After that, he reeled off 19-straight round wins between his two entries, beginning the historic rout with a $10,000 payday in the final of the Estes Oil Company Big Bucks event. Coughlin, who is taking a hiatus from the NHRA Pro Stock class this year in order to compete in events such as the Ultimate 64 Shootout, won the final round over another recognizable NHRA pro, Shawn Langdon, driver of the Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster.
“It was really cool to run Shawn in the final round,” said Coughlin. “Even though we both have experience as pro racers that really didn’t dawn on me while we were racing. I still think of both of us as sportsman racers and he is one of the best.”
A short time later, Coughlin returned to claim back-to-back wins in the Williams Paving Ultimate 32 race for dragsters and DSI Performance Trailer Cleaner Ultimate 32 for full bodied cars. Both races were limited to 32 entries.
Coughlin first drove to a final round win over Dwyane Roberts in the final of the dragster race and then stopped JEGS Mail Order teammate and good friend Kenny Underwood in the Doorslammer event. Both races paid $5,000 apiece, bringing Coughlin’s total haul for the day to $20,000.
“Both final rounds were good close races,” Coughlin said. “It was especially fun to race Kenny because he’s part of our team and he’s a heck of a racer.”
While Coughlin did most of the winning, his fiancé, Samantha Kenny, advanced through several rounds during the weekend in her JEGS.com dragster while nephew TJ Coughlin also turned in a quarterfinal finish in the Ultimate 64 Shootout.
“We all had a great weekend,” said Coughlin. “We got delayed by bad weather and didn’t finish until late Sunday night but I’m glad we stuck it out. Then, after I was done, I got a phone call and found out that my brother, Mike, won the Top Sportsman class at the NHRA Division 3 race in Joliet. Yes, this is one of those days that I’m going to remember for a long time.”