JOLIET, Ill. (May 30) -- Five-time Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. is hungry for his 77th career victory and he'd love nothing more than securing the winner's trophy at this weekend's 21st annual JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals, the Chicago-area race sponsored by his family's six-decade-old business, JEGS High Performance.
Coughlin will have plenty of support as he leads a contingent of five Team JEGS racers into Route 66 Raceway, the site of both the JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals and the annual JEGS Allstars, which features the No. 1 racers in each sportsman category from the NHRA's seven geographical regions.
"We've got a busy weekend ahead, for sure," Coughlin said. "I'm always excited to get behind the wheel of my JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro and this race will be extra special as we've taken on title sponsorship of the event itself and of course the JEGS Allstars race as well. It's a huge occasion for all of us at JEGS.
"We've got lots of family racing with myself, brother Mike (in Top Dragster), my wife Samantha (Super Comp), our nephew T.J. (Troy Jr. in Top Alcohol Dragster) and our niece Paige (Super Comp), plus we expect to have a good number of our 400-plus JEGS associates making the trip up from Delaware, Ohio, to support the races.
"It would be fantastic to break through and get our first win in quite a while. We've been knocking on the door of a race win for our JEGS car lately and we've seen lots of our Elite Motorsports teammates winning races. I firmly believe we'll challenge for the No. 1 qualifier spot and be in contention for the Pro Stock trophy come Sunday."
Coming off his first win in the Top Alcohol Dragster class in the JEGS.com McPhillips Racing racecar, Troy Coughlin Jr. managed to make the field of the prestigious Allstars race for the first time in his young career.
"I've been wanting to be a part of this race since childhood," Troy Jr. said. "This is a huge honor for me. Racing as a team for our division and region is so exciting by itself. To think about winning the JEGS Allstars is beyond any dream I've ever had but after the last race we certainly know it's possible for this McPhillips team. We'll hold nothing back."
Mike Coughlin is equally happy for his nephew, while also focusing on the job at hand.
"I'm so proud of T.J. for making the field of the Allstars race," Mike said. "He's been trying to get in for years and he's so excited. It's cool to see. I know the fact we have our name on the race makes it that much more special for him and the rest of us.
"We've changed a few things since last weekend trying to get the JEGS.com Top Dragster a little more consistent. It's been incredibly quick and fast all year and we just want to keep it that way every single pass. Credit the guys -- Greg Cody, Dave Raurk, Ryan Micke and Tony Collier -- with putting in a ton of hard work to get us here.
"It's another great family weekend with all of us racing together, plus my dad (Jeg Coughlin Sr.) is coming in for Saturday and Sunday so maybe we'll have some big things to celebrate with him."
Just days from completing her high school education and graduating with honors, Paige Coughlin is ready to take the next step in her JEGS.com Super Comp rail.
"I'm very excited to join my family in Chicago this weekend," she said. "This is a huge race for us and I am looking forward to being a part of it all. Justin Beaver and Tony Collier have done an amazing job on tuning my car this season and now I need to just focus and drive the finish line.
"Racing as a family always helps me focus and I get the best advice when we all work together. I'm very thankful for my family and team and I hope to go some rounds this weekend."
JEGS will have a show car on display at Route 66 Raceway on Manufacturers Midway.