With five world championships and 58 wins to his credit, Jeg Coughlin Jr. is used to winning. The Pro Stock veteran has been close during the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, advancing to two finals, but the longtime standout is determined to break through.
Looking for his first win since 2014 and wanting to grab some momentum heading into the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, Coughlin is locked in heading into this weekend’s NHRA Northwest Nationals at scenic Pacific Raceways. Things haven’t gone totally as planned this year in his JEGS.com/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, but Coughlin remains confident as ever he can return to his winning ways and compete for a sixth Pro Stock world championship.
"It feels like we finally shifted our gears last weekend in Sonoma and I think we're back on the right track,” Coughlin said. “No question we've had a bit of a lull in our performances the last handful of races but this is still a car that has raced to the final round a few times this year and been on the pole at three events. I know it may not look like it from the cloud looking down but from inside the ropes I feel like we’re getting a little bit of our stride back. We picked up some momentum with a nice round win in Sonoma and we're ready to stay on the positive side of things."
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Aaron Strong (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 and FOX national broadcast network, including live final eliminations on FOX starting at 4 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Aug. 6. It is the 16th of 24 events in 2017 and the last of three events on the famed NHRA Western Swing. Only two events follow it before the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, which means time is of the essence for Coughlin and his Elite Motorsports team.
He went to final rounds in Houston and Topeka, but is trying to become the 10th different winner in Pro Stock in 2017. Coughlin has watched points leader Bo Butner and rookie Tanner Gray grab three victories to lead the way this season, but he knows he has a team capable of winning.
"I think we're all looking to get off to a fresh start in Seattle and see if we can’t get this JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro completely up to speed in these last three races before the Countdown,” said Coughlin, who is currently fifth in the Pro Stock points standings. “We've put in a lot of time and effort into getting all four team cars running strong and now we need to add consistency to the equation so we can make a run in the playoffs.”
A first-round win in Sonoma last weekend has been the lone bright spot on the Western Swing thus far, which makes performing well at the NHRA Northwest Nationals that much more important. Coughlin won the event in 2002 and is also a three-time runner-up, and has nothing but great things to say about competing at Pacific Raceways.
"I’m very much looking forward to the event in Seattle,” Coughlin said. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful facility. The track, the surroundings are amazing with Mt. Rainer right there as a backdrop. The air is always good and the track can be very fast. We’re very fortunate in that we've had successes at most of the places we go on the NHRA tour. Seattle is no exception. If we can have some things fall our way this weekend, we just might be making some new memories.”
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 2:30 and 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 4 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 1:30 and 4:00 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 253-639-5927. Tickets also are available online at www.pacificraceways.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.