Prerace: Mopar Mile-High Nationals (Denver), July 21-23, 2017
The JEGS Mail Order team will be represented at this week’s Mopar Mile-High Nationals by six-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr., driver of the JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Camaro in Pro Stock, and his nephew, Troy Coughlin Jr., who will be driving the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster fielded by Kalitta Motorsports.
Jeg Jr. will continue his pursuit of a sixth NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock title (and seventh overall) at this weekend’s event. Jeg Jr. will be driving a Rick Jones Race Cars-built Chevrolet Camaro as a member of the Elite Motorsports team.
Following the most recent event in Chicago, Jeg. Jr. enters this race as the fourth-ranked driver in the Pro Stock class. This year, Jeg Jr. has earned runner-up finishes in Houston and Topeka to go with four semifinal results.
Last year, Jeg Jr. raced his first full season for the Elite team and recorded the 16th top-10 finish of his career.
Jeg Jr. is teammates with two-time world champ Erica Enders, Vincent Nobile and Alex Laughlin. Veteran crew chiefs Rick Jones, Mark Ingersoll and Brian “Lump” Self are the tuners of the Elite Pro Stock cars and regularly share data.
This season, Jeg Jr. has been Pro Stock’s No. 1 qualifier in Houston, Charlotte and Bristol. He has been the low qualifier 23 times in his career.
Jeg Jr. has won at least one NHRA national event at 24 different facilities including Route 66 Raceway. The only stops on the on the current NHRA Mello Yello tour where he has not won are Norwalk, Ohio, and Epping, N.H.
Jeg Jr.’s best elapsed time in a Pro Stock car is 6.484 seconds and his best speed is 214.62 mph, both recorded in Gainesville in 2014. Earlier this season in Houston, he ran a best of 6.499 seconds, his best run in the fuel injection era.
Earlier this season, Jeg Jr. became just the 10th NHRA racer to win 600 elimination rounds when reached the semifinals in Topeka. He currently has 604 round wins. The nine other drivers with 600 wins are John Force (1,276), Warren Johnson (874), Tony Schumacher (796), Greg Anderson (740), Kenny Bernstein (682), Larry Dixon (678), Ron Capps (661), Antron Brown (652) and Doug Kalitta (606).
Jeg Jr. won back-to-back Pro Stock titles at Bandimere Speedway in 1998 and 1999, driving to a final round victory over Warren Johnson in 1998 and his brother, Troy Coughlin, in 1999. Jeg Jr. also was runner-up in Denver in 2003, 2011 and his most recent appearance in 2014. He lost to Warren Johnson in the 2003 final and Allen Johnson in 2011 and 2014.
In 16 career appearances at Bandimere Speedway, Jeg Jr. has a round win record of 23-14 in Pro Stock competition.
Jeg Jr.’s average qualifying position in Denver is No. 8. His best qualifying efforts came in 1999 and 2010 when he was No. 2. Jeg has qualified in the top half of the field in 10 of 16 Denver appearances.
Jeg Jr. is a five-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock champion. He earned season titles in 2000, 2002, 2007-2008 and 2013. As a sportsman driver, Jeg Jr. claimed the NHRA Super Gas championship in 1992.
Jeg Jr. is the only driver to win national event titles in seven different categories. He has won in Pro Stock, Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas and Top Dragster.
Jeg Jr. is the only professional racer in history to win a national event title from all 16 starting spots. During his Indy win in 2000, Jeg Jr. qualified No. 16.
With 58 Pro Stock wins in his career, Jeg Jr. ranks fourth all-time in the class. Only Warren Johnson (97), Greg Anderson (88), and Bob Glidden (85) and have more titles.
In 394 career Pro Stock races, Jeg Jr. has reached the final round 102 times, recording 58 wins. Including his 18 sportsman victories, Jeg Jr. has won a total of 76 times, good for ninth place on NHRA’s all-time list. During his career, Jeg Jr. has appeared in 126 final rounds, 102 as a professional and 24 as a sportsman racer.
During his Pro Stock career, Jeg Jr. has competed in 394 events and has a round-win record of 604-320. He has red-lighted just 22 times and failed to qualify just 16 times.
In 2017, Troy Jr. carried on a longstanding family tradition when he joined his grandfather, Hall of Famer Jeg Coughlin Sr., in the Top Fuel class. Jeg Sr. raced Top Fuel from 1977-79. He finished No. 7 in the 1978 standings and recorded career bests of 5.97 seconds and 249.30 mph during his career.
Troy Jr. is driving the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, which is owned by drag racing and aviation legend Connie Kalitta. The car is tuned by veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer. Troy Jr. is racing as a teammate to 42-time national event winner Doug Kalitta and 2013 Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon. Troy Jr.’s teammates also include Funny Car drivers J.R. Todd and Alexis DeJoria.
The Kalitta team is scheduled to debut a new chassis for Troy Jr. this weekend. The Kalitta team builds its own race cars in-house at the Ypsilanti, Mich. facility.
Following the Chicago event, Troy Jr. is the No. 10-ranked driver in the Top Fuel class. So far, Troy Jr. has reached the quarterfinals at four events in Pomona, Gainesville, Houston and Epping. His best elapsed time is a 3.696, recorded in Phoenix, and his top speed is 328.86 mph, recorded in Gainesville.
Troy Jr. is one of the leading contenders for the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future award that honors NHRA’s top professional rookie. Troy Jr.’s uncle, Jeg Jr., was named NHRA rookie of the year in 1998 after a second-place finish in the Pro Stock class.
Troy Jr. is a five-time NHRA national event winner and the first third-generation Coughlin to win a major event. Troy Jr. won Super Comp titles at the 2009 Las Vegas race and the 2010 U.S. Nationals and the Gainesville event in 2013. He also won a pair of national events in 2014 at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals and the JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals.
Troy Jr. was the 2013 NHRA North Central Division Super Gas champion.
During his career, Troy Jr. has appeared in nine Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series divisional final rounds and has claimed three victories.
In addition to his success in NHRA events, Troy Jr. also is regarded as one of the sport’s best E.T. bracket racers. He has accumulated several major victories including a $25,000 payday at the Atco Dragway Superbucks event and a $10,000 win the Spring Buck Blast at South Georgia Motorsports Park.
The Coughlin family, including John, Troy, Mike, Jeg Jr. and Troy Jr. has combined for 114 NHRA national event victories since 1990. The Coughlin’s have won in nine different eliminators including Pro Stock, Pro Stock Truck, Pro Mod, Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, Top Sportsman and Top Dragster.
TEAM JEGS – By the Numbers (NHRA Denver Edition)
5: Pro Stock finals for Jeg Coughlin Jr. at Bandimere Speedway (2 wins, 3 runner-up finishes)
7: Different classes where Jeg Coughlin Jr. has won at least one NHRA national event title (the only driver in history to do so)
10: Number of classes where the Coughlin family has earned an NHRA national event victory
16: Top-10 finishes for Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the Pro Stock class since 1998
114: Combined NHRA national event victories for the Coughlin family
603: Professional round wins for Jeg Coughlin Jr., one of just 10 NHRA pros to reach that milestone
What should have been a routine first-round victory for Route 66 Raceway kingpin Jeg Coughlin Jr. literally went askew 150 feet into the race when the JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro lost traction and turned sideways.
Coughlin expertly pedaled his car and managed to regain control, but opponent Kenny Delco was already far enough ahead to beat Coughlin by a smidge Sunday afternoon (July 9) in Chicago.
“Unfortunately, we had our hands full there in the first round,” Coughlin said. “That was not something we expected the car to do at all. (Greg) Anderson ran a beautiful 6.59 right in front of us so the track was good and we made two good runs yesterday after making some changes going into Saturday so we were happy with where we were with the tune-up. Obviously, the car still isn’t happy.
“We’ve got a weekend off before heading to Denver so we will spend some time between now and then preparing not only for the mountain but for Sonoma, Seattle and the rest of the season. We’ll see if we can’t get some consistency back in this car.”
Although his hot rod was a handful, Coughlin nearly pulled off the win anyway, thanks in large part to a huge .058-second starting line advantage and his fine driving when his car turned on him. At the other end, Delco, who was previously winless against six-time world champ Coughlin, barely eked out the victory with a 6.722 at 206.67 mph to Coughlin’s 6.791 at 207.56 mph.
“We damn near pulled it off,” said Coughlin, a five-time Chicago winner. “The margin of victory was .011 seconds. Certainly, I could have won it with my left foot had I been a touch sharper at the tree. I was trying to be around .35 on the tree and I was .40. Maybe a little bit quicker light would have been the difference but still the beat goes on.”
Aside from his own racing, Coughlin was thrilled with the outcome of Saturday’s 33rd annual JEGS Allstars, the top Sportsman race of the season. In fact, one of the racers, Justin Picillo, was piloting the JEGS.com Stock car in the event and carried on in Sunday’s 20th annual Fallen Patriots NHRA Route 66 Nationals, where he went seven rounds before settling for runner-up honors.
“We had a helluva weekend with the JEGS Allstars event,” Coughlin said. “Justin did a great job in our JEGS.com Stocker, both in the Allstars race and today’s eliminators. He went all the way to the finals, which is really tough to do, so thanks to him for representing us so well. I’ve been really happy with how that car’s responding.
“My Elite teammate, Erica Enders, also raced to a runner-up finish in Pro Stock so although our day was short, we had some great success here in Chicago.”
Coughlin and crew return to action July 21-23 with the 38th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
Teamjegs.com contributed to this report.