Six-time Pomona champion Coughlin ready for new chapter
Jeg Coughlin Jr. admits to feeling butterflies in his stomach every time he drives through the gates of Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, and this weekend will certainly be no different as the five-time world champion unveils his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger for the first time in competition.
"It's time to run in a crowd and see how we stack up," said Coughlin, who didn't race at the professional level in 2011. "This is a new era for us with our association with Mopar and the Chrysler Technology Center. We're still maturing but I believe we'll challenge for wins right away.
"Pomona is the perfect starting point. It's so rich with history and it's a track where Team JEGS has enjoyed a lot of success over the years. If you can't get pumped up for Pomona, you may be in the wrong profession."
Coughlin has fashioned a remarkable race-day record of 48-20 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, a mark that includes six national event victories in 12 final-round showings. He's also 18-9 at the season-opening Winternationals.
"We've had two good tests this off-season with the JEGS Avenger and we've certainly made some significant headway," Coughlin said. "There's been 10 months of hard work to start this program from nothing and build it up to where we are now and the guys are extremely excited for the start of the season.
"Roy Simmons (of JNR Racing Engines) has been dialing-in the motor and Tomi Lane (crew chief) and the crew have the car going straight down the strip. The clutch program seems under control and we're running competitive numbers. It's time to race."
At 41 years old, Coughlin's 52 Pro Stock victories rank him a lofty fourth on the all-time class list. His 67 total national event wins has him tied for 10th in the overall rankings alongside seven-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher.
Qualifying begins with sessions at 1:30 p.m. PST on both Thursday and Friday, followed by two more rounds at 11 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Saturday. Eliminations are slated to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday. ESPN2 will carry all the action.