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Troy Coughlin Jr. (TJ)

Drag 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 2005.

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.


QUICK FACTS

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: 2
Total NHRA national event final rounds: 2
Career-best elapsed time: 6.665 seconds, Columbus, Ohio 2011
Career-best speed: 206.76 mph, Columbus, Ohio 2011

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS


• 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 class
• 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 in 2010
• 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 speed.
• 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.

PERSONAL


• Started his own business as a teenager building and maintaining engines for Jr. Dragster racers
• Currently works in family owned business, JEGS Automotive/JEGS Mail Order.

 


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