The bright yellow JEGS.com rig was the first to arrive at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this morning. Its owner, five-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin, is in town to tune up for the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and reclaim his Las Vegas Pro Stock Showdown title.
The Ohio-based racer is no stranger to The Strip at LVMS’ victory lane celebrations. He captured the inaugural NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock trophy here in 2000 and has won in Las Vegas three more times since then. The personable and popular Coughlin also won the 2008 preseason Las Vegas Pro Stock Showdown.
He was defeated in the final round of the 2009 Las Vegas Pro Stock Showdown by Allen Johnson. “It all starts this weekend in Vegas,” Jeg said. “This is an important test for all of us and it really gets you up to speed for Pomona. We’ve won the Vegas Showdown in the past and we’d love to do it again.”
Coughlin will be fine-tuning his reworked JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt Pro Stock car and a new JEGS.com Dodge Challenger Stock Eliminator hot rod at the fifth annual Las Vegas Pro Stock Showdown.
“I’m excited to get back in a race car and get that feeling back,” Coughlin said. “This will actually be the third test of the off-season for the team but my buddy Richie Stevens filled in for me before so this will be my first time back in the cockpit since last November.
It definitely gets your blood pumping.
“Our team owner Victor Cagnazzi, crew chiefs Roy Simmons and Tummy Utt, car builder Todd Bevis, and everyone else at Victor Cagnazzi Racing have been working around the clock this off-season to get the car and motors where they need to be. We were thrilled with our effort last year until the playoffs started and we fell back at bit. That didn’t sit well with anyone and it’s been a motivating factor for all of us.”
In earlier testing in Florida, Stevens guided Coughlin’s car through several 6.5 and 6.6 second passes. He was usually the quickest of each session at a test that included most of the top teams in the sport.
“We’ve worked a lot on getting the car to respond more aggressively at the hit and to accelerate faster through those first few feet of the run, which are so critical. Todd and his crew have reworked several areas of the car itself and the guys in the engine shop have successfully developed more horsepower.
“We have a simple goal this year that we think will take us to where we want to be – we just don’t want to have any issues. Of course, that’s easier said than done.”
Coughlin’s Challenger Drag Pack racer also will keep him busy at numerous races this year, and he’ll be an active supporter of fiancée Samantha Kenny’s Super Comp efforts as well.
“We’re going to be at the drag strip a lot this year and that suits us well because we love racing,” Coughlin said. “My nephew Troy Jr. will be racing with us at times and his dad, my brother Troy Sr., is running all 10 Pro Mod races so it will be a real family affair in 2010. Of course, Pop will be around quite a bit as well.”
The weekend’s races will be aired live on Internet TV at: http://widgets.clearspring.com/cscallback/urlexchange/4803272b42fa86ae/facebook.html?x=5U7EYcBqwm7CO8RrljjIb5E83W2Sb8NhkzqWOsdhxjjJbMF0xGHAasJuwjvHapZtyGDFbg.