“He’s been very successful, so it’s good to pick his brain. He hasn’t come to circle-track stuff, but he’s in a high form of motorsports, and he’s got a lot of wisdom to pass along. When I see him, we always have nice little chats about that stuff,” said Cody Coughlin, who raced Jr. Dragsters briefly as a youngster.
The 21-year-old, who also is a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, says he’ll stick to circle tracks.
“That’s a whole different type of skill set I haven’t worked on or tried to do anything with,” Cody Coughlin said of drag racing. “I probably will just stay on the sidelines and cheer on my family. If I was going to do something, I’d want to do it successfully. Who knows? Down the road, maybe a test session or something or a media event, which is kind of fun. There are definitely two ways to look at it. You can look at it like you only have one chance in the one sport. But you also have chances to fail multiple times in the other. You’ve got to handle both of them with the right mindset that is required at that particular event.”
Troy Jr. is much like his uncle Jeg Coughlin Jr. in that he studies the subtle details, which define the difference between being success and frustration.
“I have to think about it and work at it. Nothing really comes natural to me. My uncle Jeg’s a complete natural. He’s a hop-in-and-go type of guy. I’m a guy who has to study it, learn it, watch it — because I like it,” Troy Coughlin Jr. explained. “I’m in love with it. I like to study the in-car cameras and just look at results and get averages, look back through last year’s (data), seeing how many runs they made and where they smoked the tires, where they made good runs, and reaction times in eliminations … just looking at it, just seeing where I need to be and where I want to be, and setting some goals. I’ve taken a lot of lessons from uncle Jeg.”
Said Jeg Coughlin Jr., “I am very proud of all of our nieces and nephews. Most of them have been behind the wheel competitively. Cody and T.J., in particular, have both been racing long before they had a valid driver’s license. They both have had great success thus far, and I am excited to see them pursue their passion and careers in motorsports. Stay tuned — it will be exciting.”
Jeg Coughlin Jr. is pushing 600 elimination round-wins and is on pace to become one of only nine drivers with that many later this season. He is the first and only NHRA driver to win in four different classes in the same season (Pro Stock, Super Stock, Super Gas and Comp). He also is the first and only driver to win in seven classes (including Stock, Super Comp and Top Dragster). He is the lone racer in any class to win from every qualifying position — No. 1 to No. 16.
At the office, Jeg Coughlin Jr. helps run the family business with brothers John, Troy and Mike, and he has worked in most areas of the business since his middle-school years. These days he zeroes in on the information technology operations and distribution, while John works with sales and purchasing. Troy does the same but also monitors the outside real-estate holdings, and Mike oversees the race teams and projects.
Jeg Coughlin, 78, remains president and CEO but signed the firm over to his sons in 1986 and retired to Florida.
Whether it’s Cody Coughlin in a Camping World Truck Series victory lane or Troy Coughlin Jr., his dad, uncle or Jr. Dragster cousins in the NHRA winner’s circle, Mike Coughlin said, “Everybody wins when we win. We’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to do what we like to do over the years: try different things, different classes, different vehicles.”
He looked up at that spiral staircase with the JEGS building’s bright lights reflecting off the trophies.
“It’s pretty neat. It’s kind of a reminder of how blessed we’ve been,” he added. “We’ve been blessed and we’ve worked hard to get to where we are today.”
The hard work continues and the blessings just keep coming with a new generation.