Fast Take via FYI WIRZ By Dwight Drum
Web work by Larsen & Drum Images by Larsen and Drum
NHRA Pro Mod and a Late Model Stock Car run fast for big yellow
Pro Mod drag cars and Late Model stock cars have many things in common; four wheels, an engine, steering and more but the one common focus they do not share is going straight and turning left.
The Pro Modified class in NHRA is called the Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series and got its origin about 20 years ago in the IHRA. Pro Mods line up two at a time to race a straight quarter mile some reaching the 250 mph range. The cars are like Pro Stock class but modified with hood scoops for nitrous injected car or hoods cut to fit a supercharger on a blown motor. Nearly all have a wing at the base of the rear windshield to help keep the powerful car on the ground.
Power is the purpose. Pro Mod engines have up to 527 cubic inches when supercharged and methanol fueled, or a much larger 820 cubic inch engine that runs on nitrous oxide and gasoline.
When throttles cause the engines to erupt they produce 2500 to 3500 horse power.
Pro Mod driver Troy Coughlin, 46, for Team JEGS described his racing experience: "It's an animal to drive,” Coughlin said. “The car pulls so hard and it really puts you back in the seat. You can feel it wants to run, and that's exciting."
Late Model driver Cody Coughlin, 15, for Team JEGS has stepped around his family tradition of drag racing straight tracks and seeks the left turns of short-track racing. Coughlin’s plan is to one day drive in top NASCAR ranks, but for now he races a Late Model Stock Car against mostly older and more experienced drivers.
He commented on his future plans:“I’m very optimistic about it,” Coughlin said, “I think that we’ll get there for sure. I just got to take it one series at a time. You can’t get to NASCAR without doing this stuff and this is a lot of fun. “I really like the competitiveness, the passing back and forth. Also it’s for the business. That’s not the reason I chose circle tracks, but it also helps.”
More than 1000 short-track venues on dirt and asphalt entertain local race fans and drivers in the U.S. and Cody will race Crate Late Model circuit in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan this season.
One sturdy link between Troy’s Pro Mod and Cody’s Late Model is both are all bright yellow with big black letters promoting JEGS, the high performance catalog distribution giant. The Coughlins run the family business started by Jeg Coughlin Sr.
Jeg Coughlin Sr.’s real name is Edward James Coughlin. His mother, Genevieve or Ginny, didn’t like her red-haired son to be called “Red”. His dad’s name was Ed and they sometimes called him James, his middle name. His parents took the first letters from their first names and added that to the “J” in James, and the coined name Jeg was created.
Jeg’s parents could not have known that their choice of a nickname might have played a significant role in the marketing of Jeg’s chosen business of providing parts and engine work to fellow drag racers in the early 60’s.
The high- performance automotive parts business might have been quite different if mom had settled on a nickname like Pookie or Snookie. Unless Edward Coughlin picked up a nickname like “Cog” the branding of his business might have been more difficult and less successful. JEGS has swift name-recognition and is easily advertised.
Choosing a simple and bright yellow background for the black lettering was also an important decision.
The rest is fast history, 50 plus years of performance parts distribution by a loyal work force of 350 plus in Delaware, Ohio has brought the firm international presence.
The Coughlin business includes racing for fun as their logos include the comment, “We race what we sell.”
Young Cody Coughlin knows his role in the business and racing.
“I’ve seen what my grandfather started and see what my dad and uncles made it grow to,” Coughlin said. “I don’t want to do anything to hurt it. I want to make it even bigger so we can continue to have good race cars and all that.”
Troy Coughlin defined his role in the business with a take on work and more.
“I think going racing is a good out to get away from work and then vice-versa,” Coughlin said. “We got a lot of good people back at JEGS.com to keep the ball rolling while we’re off racing, promoting and selling. It’s a good business and we enjoy it.”
Sometimes fun is easy to describe as Coughlin talked again about his Pro Mod Car.
"This car is incredibly fast," Coughlin said. “It's the quickest car I've ever driven. I feel like a kid again because I find myself thinking about it at random times.”
Troy understands what young Cody is going through right now as he pushes his dreams to the horizon.
“He’s getting there,” Coughlin said. “He’s getting so much more involved into the day-to-day stuff, he’s at the shop just about every day working on his car. He’s learning how to weld, how to cut bend to replace body pieces that he takes off of it when he’s out racing. He’s trying to be more hands-on with it. I think that helps the driver. He’s got the heart and the passion for it and he’s going to be tough.”
It’s often said by some wise and successful people that if you love what you do at work, if your work is fun, it’s never work.
Racing isn’t easy and neither is selling, but if either or both are fun it can pack a career with dreams fulfilled.
The Coughlin family at JEGS seems to live in a fun and fast world.
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