LAS VEGAS — In 286 pro starts, four-time Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin has amassed 52 national event victories in 85 final-round appearances and posted a stunning 476-220 elimination round record. His totals include five big wins at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the next stop on the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule.
This time through, Coughlin will have two chances to add to his total as he plans to compete in both Pro Stock, in his JEGS.com /Mopar Dodge Avenger, and Super Comp, in wife Samantha’s JEGS.com dragster.
“We’re prepared to have twice as much fun in Vegas,” said Coughlin, who has 15 Sportsman victories at the national level in addition to his 52 Pro Stock trophies. “I love to race so I really enjoy the times we get to double-up and drive two cars. I’m excited to get started, especially at one of the best tracks on tour.”
Coughlin is 3-2 in the first three races of the 2012 season after a rare DNQ at the last stop in Gainesville, Fla. He says that although his team is just getting started with a new car and engine program, they expect the absolute best from themselves every time out.
“We’re all very much wanting to get past Gainesville,” Coughlin said. “We expected some growing pains but when you have a group with such a lengthy championship pedigree like this one, not making an elimination field doesn’t sit well with any of us.
“I’m an optimist by nature and I see our program at this particular point in time as a very exciting entity. We have some great opportunities to improve and the challenge is right in front of us because no one in this class is willing to give an inch.”
To clear the next hurdle with a little more ease than they encountered in Central Florida, the JEGS.com race team left Gainesville and drove straight to zMax Dragway in Charlotte for an extensive test session.
“We started with the car set-up just as it was in Florida and went from there,” he said. “We picked at it a little here and a little there until we found a happy place. With some help from the Dodge engineers and some folks from Penske, we made significant gains, especially down low. In each of the nine runs we completed we got better and we were really happy with the consistency we experienced.
“Roy Simmons and Nick Ferri have found some more horsepower and that will help as well. I truly believe that we’ll show some monumental gains in the next month.”
Pro Stock qualifying begins with sessions at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Friday and continue with two more rounds at noon and 3 p.m.. Eliminations are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Sunday. ESPN2 will air qualifying highlights from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday and elimination action from 4-7 p.m. Sunday. All times are Pacific.