Defending NHRA Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. comes from a family that’s deeply involved in all aspects of auto racing, and that family has come to embrace another family, teammate Allen Johnson and his father, Roy. Coughlin Jr. and Johnson currently sit tied for second in Pro stock points, 123 back of leader Erica Enders-Stevens, but Coughlin Jr. hopes he’s got the upper hand right now.
“We do see some streaks, sometimes throughout seasons and sometimes for seasons as a whole,” said Coughlin Jr. in a recent NHRA teleconference. “Would love to think we are catching a streak right now that could carry us to the end of the year, but that's very wishful thinking. Pro Stock right now is the most competitive that I've seen it since I joined the ranks in late 1997, and in competitive meaning there's a good chance that just about any car that's qualifying for these shows can win the race on Sunday. And that makes it very difficult for the crew chiefs and that makes it very difficult for the drivers, but that's what makes it fun for the fans is that extremely competitive side-by-side racing.”
“I think still with all that said, you do see teams that do get little breakout runs and Allen and I, being the past two reigning world champions, want to keep our names at the top of this list,” continued Coughlin Jr. “As you mentioned, the Elite team with Erica Enders, they just set the national record in both the elapsed time and speed. And that doesn't leave the best taste in our mouth. We are working really hard to get our Dodge Darts to want to do the same, and we are very, very close.”
Coughlin Jr. believes that teamwork will take him and Johnson a long way this season – they’ve already combined for five wins in nine races this season.
“Every day can't be perfect, as we all know,” said Coughlin Jr. “In Pro Stock racing, that's even more true, because you've got 14 other cars on Sunday that are looking to up end you. But I think having that championship caliber team, knowing that you have that and having the drive to be able to take a situation that maybe isn't going quite the way you want to, and step back and reevaluate in a very quick manner, because in some cases, we are talking a 50-minute time frame between first round and second round as we were just faced at Englishtown on Sunday. We had a very poor first round performance and within 50 minutes, we were able to reevaluate and refocus our efforts to getting the car near competitive or looking to be 100 percent competitive; but we got it very close to being competitive and we were able to work out way through that field. And that's the kind of team; that's the kind of integrity that our team has; that not giving up and being able to realign your thoughts to put yourself back in a winning position.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series gets back on track Friday through Sunday, June 13th through 15th at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee, home of the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. Keep up with the action at www.nhra.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.
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