Defending champ Coughlin headed to Chicago with nephew in tow
JOLIET, IL Ė Success at Route 66 Raceway seems to come naturally to Mike Coughlin as he has won the trackís annual North Central Division Lucas Oil Series race in three of the past seven seasons including a Super Comp victory in 2005 and Top Sportsman titles in 2007 and 2011.
Now, the two-time series champion is hoping his good fortune will continue as he brings his JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt back to the popular Joliet, Ill., facility.
Coughlin enters this weekendís race ranked fourth in the Brodix/Steve Schmidt Engines Top Sportsman series, just 63 points out of first place, so he's hoping to make a big move up in the points standings.
"We can definitely make up some ground this weekend," Coughlin said. "This track has been very good to me over the years. In fact, itís been very good to our whole family. It's very smooth, really which benefits a fast car like our JEGS.com Cobalt.
"In my last three races, we havenít done as well as we would have liked but that didnít have anything to do with the car. I have just lost some really good close races. That happens sometimes and all you can do is keep on fighting.
"We did not make a single change to the car because itís almost perfect. I really have to thank my father [Jeg Coughlin Sr.] because heís the one who initially set this car up and we really havenít had to make many adjustments. Itís a very nice race car to drive."
At the most recent Division 3 event in Norwalk, Ohio, Coughlin officially locked up his spot on the 2012 JEGS Allstars team that will be returning to Joliet for the annual competition in July. With that goal reached, he can now focus on winning races.
"In Norwalk I felt a lot of pressure because I really wanted to make the JEGS Allstars team," Coughlin said. "Now, I donít have to worry about that because we got it done. We just need to get some momentum going and I believe we can."
Third-generation racer Troy Coughlin Jr. will also be aiming for victory in Joliet and will have two chances to do so as he is entered in the Top Dragster and Super Comp classes with his JEGS.com dragsters. Troy Jr. has been racing two cars for most of the 2012 season and has become comfortable with the often hectic routine that goes with a double entry.
"At first it was a little overwhelming but after a while you develop a routine and now Iím pretty used to it," Troy Jr. said. "Of course, I havenít reached the finals with two cars yet so I donít know how hectic that would be but that would be a good problem to have."
Troy Jr. is currently ranked eighth in the North Central Division Spitzer Race Cars Top Dragster standings although he has only competed in two divisional events. A strong showing in Joliet could greatly increase his chances to contend for a season-championship.
"I really just need one good weekend and I could start making up some ground in both classes," Troy Jr. said. "I just need to let my brain work and not make mental mistakes. Iím learning to just take it slow and steady."
For much of the 2012 season, Troy Jr., has been honing his skills at high stakes E.T. bracket races, but he's recently decided to enter more NHRA events in Super Comp and Top Dragster.
"I really enjoy racing with my family," he said. "Iím going to go to this race in Joliet and then run the national event in Bristol and back to Joliet for the national event and the JEGS Allstars. Itís a lot of fun when Iím racing with my dad [Troy Sr.] or my uncles [John, Mike, and Jeg Jr.]. We all work together and I think that makes us all better racers."