JEGS racer T.J. Coughlin has history in his sights
DELAWARE, Ohio (Jan. 20)—Third-generation drag racer Troy Coughlin Jr. will try to become the third member of the famous Coughlin racing clan to win an IHRA Ironman trophy at the upcoming Palm Beach Nitro Jam, which runs from Jan. 28-29 at Palm Beach International Raceway in southeast Florida.
“Uncle John won an Ironman in Darlington (S.C) back in 1984 and Uncle Mike won one at Marion County International Raceway (LaRue, Ohio) in 1992 so I think we’re overdue for another Coughlin to find the winner’s circle at an IHRA race,” said Troy Jr., known to most simply as T.J. “I would consider it a great honor.
“I really like the IHRA deal. It’s some great, friendly Sportsman racing with a Hollywood show aspect to it all. I love to race and it’s the next big event on the schedule so we’re heading that way.”
T.J. will enter the Quick Rod class with the same JEGS dragster he’s raced to multiple NHRA national and divisional victories. The car has a new look this year, sporting an all-yellow theme that Team JEGS will banner in 2011, and his powerplant has been tuned up for maximum performance.
“My ultimate goal is to win a race or several races in both NHRA and IHRA and go for the title in both sanctions,” T.J. said. “The first step in IHRA is to qualify for their Tournament of Champions and if I win the race at PBIR, I’ll be on my way to reaching that goal.
“The main thing is to race and have fun. I’d race every day if I could. I’d tour the country in a trailer and just race ‘til the wheels fell off. I love it.”
Winning the Palm Beach Nitro Jam is more than just wishful thinking for the grandson of Hall of Fame member Jeg Coughlin Sr. Coming off a successful 2010 campaign highlighted by a victory at the U.S. Nationals—the sport’s most prestigious and longest running event—T.J. enters the Nitro Jam season opener as one of the favorites.
“It’s never easy and I’m sure all the big guns from the east coast will be there,” T.J. said, “but that’s exactly the way I like it. If you want to be the champ, you have to be prepared to beat everyone so we’ll take them as they come.”
Qualifying begins at 1 p.m., Friday, Jan. 28.