CECIL, Ga. — As he prepares to continue his pursuit of the NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock championship at the upcoming Tire Kingdom Gatornationals, five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. will make a slight detour this weekend to compete in the Southeast Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at South Georgia Motorsports Park.
But instead of his 210-mph Pro Stock Dodge Avenger, Coughlin will be behind the wheel of his JEGS.com Mopar Drag Pak Challenger Stock Eliminator entry and his JEGS.com Super Comp dragster, while his wife, Samantha, will also make her season debut behind the wheel of her JEGS.com Super Comp dragster.
Jeg has not raced in Stock Eliminator since last season’s JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals but he knows that his Drag Pak Challenger is more than capable of reaching the winner’s circle. The yellow and black Mopar did just that two weeks ago when longtime Coughlin friend Jeff Taylor drove it to victory at the Southeast Division event in Gainesville, Fla.
“We did quite a bit of work on the chassis and suspension over the winter and we sent the car to Jeff Taylor to help sort it out,” said Coughlin, who has earned 15 Lucas Oil Series divisional titles to go along with his 67 NHRA national event victories. “Jeff has been a friend for more than 20 years, and he’s one of the go-to people when you want a race car that’s done right. He can do just about anything. He’s a great engine builder, tuner, fabricator, and a driver. He wanted to take the car to Gainesville just to test it and when I got home from Phoenix on Sunday night, he called and told me he’d won the race. Jeff has helped make the car very drivable and very consistent. I’d say it’s about 85-percent there so I’m really looking forward to taking the wheel this weekend.”
Last year, Samantha competed in just six events in the Super Comp class, but reached the semifinals in two of them, including the sport’s biggest and most prestigious event — the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Samantha also is a former national event winner, having claimed the Super Comp title in Norwalk, Ohio, in 2009. At this weekend’s South Georgia race, she will once again be driving the Undercover Race Cars dragster she debuted in 2011.
“I’m really excited to get back out there for my first race of the season,” Samantha said. “I haven’t driven my dragster since the JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals last September so I’m more than ready to go. This season, my goal is to see if I can do something in the points. I did pretty well last year even though I only ran a few times so we’ll see what happens this time. If I get off to a good start, I’m sure we’d consider adding a few races to our schedule.”
The Valdosta event will also feature the popular Ultimate Sportsman race on Friday, March 3 that pays $5,000 to the winner of Super Comp and $5,000 to the champion in a Super Stock/Stock Combo, providing added incentive to both Coughlins.
“This format works well for us because we’ll have a couple more chances to make some runs and prepare for the weekend,” Jeg said. “Overall, it should be a very fun weekend for both of us.”