Troy Coughlin Jr. (TJ)
racing is all Troy Coughlin Jr. has wanted to do. That
makes sense, of course, given the immersion of the sport
by his family.
Coughlin, known as T.J. to family and friends, became
the first of the third generation of drag racing Coughlins
to win a national event in NHRA competition. That happened
at the final Las Vegas event in 2009, and T.J. has hardly
slowed down since.
T.J. won the prestigious U.S. Nationals at Indy in the
Super Comp category last year, adding to his growing
resume. He finished eighth in Super Comp points on the
national level and was fourth in Division 3. At 20 years
old, the future seems quite bright for the son of drag
racing champion Troy Coughlin Sr.
To say T.J. comes from a drag racing family is like
saying nitromethane is difficult to breathe. T.J.'s
grandfather is family patriarch and drag racing legend
Jeg Coughlin Sr., and his uncles John, Mike, and Jeg
Jr. are champions in their own rights and remain heavily
invested in the sport.
Not surprisingly, T.J.'s first memory revolves around
drag racing. He was 3 years old, traveling with his
father to nearby National Trail Raceway. Troy Sr. was
driving a Super Gas car, and T.J. remembers the white
hood scoop and yellow steering wheel. Plus, he remembers
the car going fast, "crazy fast."
It was another five years before Coughlin was old enough
to drive a Junior Dragster, but even then he was fast.
Maybe a little too fast.
"I won the first round with my foot to the floor,
and when we went back around for Round 2 and I told
Dad, 'I can win this race by a lot. My car is fast!'"
T.J. said. "Dad said, 'OK, but just remember you
can lose that way also.' Sure enough, I stood on it
all the way down and broke out of my index by a bunch.
I've been intrigued by it all ever since."
T.J. raced Junior Dragsters as often as possible for
the next seven years, winning his first race in the
class at National Trail during a divisional event in
Showing his family's entrepreneurial spirit, T.J. began
a side business in between events, building and dyno-testing
Junior Dragster engines for his friends and fellow competitors.
He moved up to the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series when
he turned 17, competing in his Uncle John's Super Comp
dragster, a rail he still drives.
T.J. will continue to build his resume and deepen his
experience in Super Comp, perhaps racing in Competition
Eliminator or Top Dragster in a few years. His eye,
ultimately, is on Pro Stock.
Vehicle: JEGS.com dragster
Series: National Hot Rod Association,
Top Sportsman, Super Comp
Hometown: Delaware, Ohio
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio
Age: 21 (DOB July 10, 1990)
Family: parents, Troy Sr. and Julie,
sisters, Meghan, Paige, and Kelly
2012 Car: JEGS.com dragster
Crew Chief: Kenny Underwood
Years racing: 4
Sportsman wins: 2 (Super Comp)
Sportsman final rounds: 2
Total NHRA national event victories:
Total NHRA national event final rounds:
Career-best elapsed time: 6.665 seconds,
Columbus, Ohio 2011
Career-best speed: 206.76 mph, Columbus,
• Began racing in the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League shortly
after celebrating his 8th birthday in 1998.
• Claimed his first Jr. Dragster victory at his home
track, National Trail Raceway, in 2005
• Made his debut in a “big car” in 2007 driving his
uncle, John’s Team JEGS dragsters in the Super Comp
• Became the first third-generation Coughlin to win
an NHRA national event title when he earned the Super
Comp win in Las Vegas in 2009
• Finished No. 12 in the NHRA North Central Division
Super Comp standings during his rookie season in 2009.
• Joined his father, Troy Sr. as a winner of the sport’s
most prestigious race, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals
when he won the Super Comp class in 2010. Troy Sr. won
the Super Gas title in 1991.
• Finished 8th in the NHRA national points standings
and No. 4 in the North Central Division in Super Comp
• Made his debut in the Top Dragster class at the 2011
JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals in Columbus, recording
a personal best 6.665-elapsed time and a 206.76- mph
• Won the $25,000 top prize in the 2011 AA Auto Salvage
Northeast Bracket Championships at Atco Dragway, one
of the nation’s richest E.T. bracket events.
• Started his own business as a teenager building and
maintaining engines for Jr. Dragster racers
• Currently works in family owned business, JEGS Automotive/JEGS