During his tour of Chrysler Headquarters & Technology Center, five-time NHRA Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr., left, met with Chrysler President/CEO Pietro Gorlier.
JEGS.com/Mopar driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. was invited last week on a private tour of Chrysler Headquarters & Technology Center, where he met with a handful of key executives and numerous members of the SRT group.
"It was quite a privilege to be invited up there and pretty darn exciting to see all the things going on at Chrysler," said Coughlin, a five-time champion in NHRA's Pro Stock class. "Not many people get an all-access, behind-the-scenes tour like this, so I was honored to have the chance."
The highlight of the visit was lunch with Chrysler President and CEO Pietro Gorlier in the executive dining room. Afterward, Gorlier presented Coughlin with a special shadow box to commemorate Coughlin's 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock world championship.
"To be recognized for what we do out there on the NHRA trail and know that people like Pietro are watching drag racing gives you a real sense of pride," Coughlin said. "I was thrilled to talk about our championship and how we got there together as a team, and of course we spoke at length about Mopar winning two titles in a row and how we plan to keep the momentum going forward in 2014."
Coughlin started his day visiting the SRT garages and got a sneak peek at some special future production cars as well as other unique vehicles still in the design phase.
There, he met with Russ Ruedisueli, head of SRT and motorsports engineering; Dave Bailey, senior manager of motorsports engineering; and Pat Baer, motorsports engine development.
"To have the support of these talented folks is really the difference between winning and losing," Coughlin said. "Their expertise and the facilities they have up there let you realize very quickly how serious they are about being No. 1. I'm blown away by the commitment every person on that staff has to our program."
The affable Ohioan then signed autographs for associates at CTC before his lunch with Gorlier.
After lunch, he met with Skip Olson, senior manager, accessory & performance portfolio, and Kathy Wideman, senior manager, repair portfolio, before speaking to the accessory & performance parts team.
Other Mopar executives with whom Coughlin met were Patrick Dougherty, vice president, parts sales & field operations; Tricia Hecker, director of marketing; and Frank Donnelly, senior manager, maintenance portfolio & Magneti Marelli.
"I tried to thank as many people as I could, and I let them all know how appreciative we are to have their support," Coughlin said. "They are just a wonderful group up there, and my spirit and drive for winning has definitely been bolstered."
Coughlin drove his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger to the 2013 Pro Stock championship, a year after returning to NHRA with Mopar.
Tracy Dennis, a respected and important part of the Division4 NHRA racing family, died Feb. 27 after being shot outside his home in Lubbock, Texas. He was 53.
Dennis, owner of Sunset Racecraft, a longtime Division 4 sponsor and title-rights sponsor of its Top Dragster class, allegedly was shot and killed by his ex-wife, who then turned the gun on herself. She survived her self-inflicted wound and is now in police custody.
NHRA Division 4 has lost a great racer, sponsor, friend and father,” said Division 4 Director Trey Capps. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tracy's son, Jason Dennis, and daughter, Maddie. We all know how much he loved them and how proud he was of their accomplishments. RIP Tracy, you shall forever be missed.”
Dennis, who also competed in both NHRA and IHRA Sportsman competition, opened Sunset Racecraft in 1990 and has seen his business grow to be one of the most popular engine-building shops in the Southwest.
In February, Dennis was the recipient of the prestigious Division 4 Good Guy award.
Drag racing fans can go head-to-head against racers from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series on the Sonoma Raceway kart track at the 12th annual NHRA Tour de Charity.
Speedway Children’s Charities, the charitable arm of Sonoma Raceway, will host the fundraising event on Saturday, March 22, with all proceeds benefiting Sonoma County youth groups. The event has generated more than $122,000 since 2003.
Funny Car stars and Don Schumacher Racing teammates Ron Capps and Jack Beckman will return as the featured NHRA competitors at this year’s event. Among the most recognizable stars in the sport, Beckman is the 2012 NHRA Funny Car Champion, while Capps is fresh off his 2013 Sonoma Nationals victory. Capps and Beckman have been regular Tour de Charity participants since its inception, and look forward to returning each year.
“It’s a wonderful day, awesome group of people and it’s for a great cause,” said Beckman. “No matter the results on track, you can’t leave here without feeling fantastic.”
The event is limited to 40 fans; cost is $325 and includes a full day of karting with the drivers, autographs, lunch, and the chance to compete in a 10-lap timed qualifying event for a grand prize.
The Simraceway Performance Driving Center, which operates the karting center, provides the karts, race suits, classroom instruction and on-track pointers for all competitors. There will be giveaways during the day, and the top-10 qualifiers (race fans) will compete in a 10-lap timed race at the end of day for the NHRA Experience, which includes two tickets to the NHRA Sonoma Nationals (July 25-27). All karting levels are welcome.
To reserve your seat in the NHRA Tour de Charity, visit http://sonoma.speedwaycharities.org/events/nhra_tour_de_charity_karting/. For more information, contact Cheri Plattner at 707-933-3950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fresh off a strong showing at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Jim Dunn Racing will run the special edition Grime Boss/USD, Inc., Mopar Funny Car at the CARQUEST Auto Part NHRA Nationals in Phoenix, Feb. 21 –23.
“We’re looking forward to teaming up again with our marketing partner at USD,” said Jim Dunn Racing team manager Jon Dunn. “We’re proud to represent USD at their home track and help them reach their customers who love NHRA Drag Racing.”
In 2013 USD, Inc., teamed up with Jim Dunn Racing as presenting sponsor at three NHRA national events and welcomed primary sponsor, Grime Boss, into their business family. Grime Boss Heavy Duty Wipes are now available to thousands of USD customers.
“Hard to believe a year has gone by since we first partnered with Jim Dunn Racing as sponsor for this event in 2013, and we are excited to be the primary sponsor again this year. Last year it was a new venture for us and neither our company, nor our customers were exactly sure what to expect,” said USD, Inc., President/CEO, Eric Bromenshenkel. “This year, after having done multiple races last season, these dates have been circled on the calendar for months and we have been building excitement and anticipation toward this coming weekend for some time. With Phoenix being our corporate headquarters, this race weekend has turned into the biggest employee and customer appreciation event of the year for USD, Inc., and having Jim Dunn Racing and Jeff Arend out there representing us makes it even more special for us!”
Employees of USD will get an up close look at the Funny Car and meet driver Jeff Arend when Jim Dunn Racing visits the company headquarters in Phoenix. Over the race weekend, 500 guests of USD, Inc., will be in attendance.
Arend is anticipating putting on a good show for everyone at USD, Inc. “I am looking forward to the Phoenix race after our consistent performance in Pomona. Big Jim has a great handle on the tune up and we look forward to putting our USD/Grime Boss Funny Car into the winner's circle at the newly renovated Wild Horse Pass track in Phoenix!”