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Coughlin: Pro Stock fans in for an “exciting year”

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2013 NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. had a little bit of time to celebrate his fifth championship, but got back to work for the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season before the calendar year was over.

“Just two weeks after Thanksgiving, mid-December Allen (Johnson) and I and several other teams were down in Bradenton, Florida, doing some testing and really just trying to prove out some things that we learned throughout the 2013 season,” said Coughlin Jr. in a recent NHRA teleconference. “When you enter the countdown, you enter a little bit different competitive mode. We've really made some great headway in that first test session, and then we just completed another three days of testing in Bradenton this past week. So for us it was a very short off season. From my understanding, Roy (Johnson) and the engineers at J&J have been working extremely hard on horsepower and have done a great job with that. Based on some of our testing results, even with our testing motors, we were extremely quick. So we look forward to that as we move into the season. We've had some transitions within the team that we look forward to seeing play out as we've gotten our feet on the ground and ready to hit the Winternationals.”

The Circle K NHRA Winternationals, opening the 2014 season Thursday through Sunday, February 6th through 9th at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in California, will see some changes to the Pro Stock ranks, including the loss of a third J&J team, that of Vincent Nobile, who moves over to KB Racing with Greg Anderson and Jason Line. Missing from the category: Mike Edwards, who sold most of his operation to Chris McGaha in the off-season.

“I think Mike was just a fantastic individual and one that a lot of us looked up to for many years,” said Coughlin Jr. “He was such a smooth operator. He was always a very aggressive driver and very good driver. As he built his latest team, obviously he had the total package and they won a world championship in, I believe, '09 and were a threat each and every year. So Mike will be missed on the track without question. I'd be surprised if we didn't see him surface and be a part of the racing world, because it's been such a big part of his life and career for both he and Lisa.”

Coughlin Jr. won’t have an easy time defending his title in 2014 – but the family business of winning titles might give him a little inspiration.

“I've got to say when you look at the lineup of Pro Stock cars that we're faced with this year it's going to be an exciting year without question,” said Coughlin Jr. “The resurgence with Dave Connolly back behind the wheel and partnered up with Shane Gray in that program, they're going to be tough. KB with three cars, the list just goes on and on. It's not going to be dull to say the least.”

“The Coughlins had one heck of a season in 2013 starting with the youngest member, Clay Coughlin – I call him Cecil,” continued Coughlin Jr. “He won his first championship in the Junior Dragster ranks here at our home track of National Trail Raceway. Cody Coughlin, my oldest brother's son won the CRA championship in the asphalt circle track rank, which is something I'd love to hop in and do. It just looks like a ton of fun. Troy Jr., my brother Troy's son, won his first championship in the Division 3 ranks in Super Gas, and my son Jeggy, who has not hit the pavement just yet, but he won the Ohio high school golf championship in boys’ high school golf. So one heck of a year for us. To add a Pro Stock championship to those four certainly made us a banner year for all of us here.”

Keep up with the off-season at www.nhra.com.

Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.

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