T.J.'s Championship Dreams Begin Friday In West Florida
BRADENTON, Feb. 9, 2011: Troy Coughlin Jr. is so focused on success in 2011 that he spent this past weekend at an old airstrip to make absolutely sure his JEGS.com Super Comp dragster is ready to fly at this weekend's Division 2 season-opening Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Bradenton Motorsports Park.
The son of drag racing champion Troy Coughlin Sr. and grandson of Hall of Fame member Jeg Coughlin Sr., Troy Jr. -- or T.J. as he's known to friends -- has designs on making a charge at both the NHRA Division 3 and overall national championships in 2011. He knows this weekend's race will decide the early tone of his season and he's placed a large amount of importance on his performance.
"My expectations are very high," T.J. said. "If I want to achieve my goals then every race needs to be 100 percent. I know what it takes to win and I know how the points need to add up, so the game plan is pretty clear -- I need to race to the best of my abilities every time out."
Since this weekend's race is part of the Division 2 schedule and T.J. is calling Division 3 home, this event will count as one of just two out-of-division races that will count on his 2011 scorecard. That's why he ran the wheels off his bright yellow hot rod at Immokalee Regional Raceway, a track that doubles as an active airstrip, to make sure everything on his hot rod was in peak operation condition.
"Drag racing success comes down to two things," T.J. said. "One is the overall maintenance of the car. The other is driving and being as consistent as you can be with every run.
"The car's maintenance is awesome. The guys do a great job of taking care of my stuff. We had a small brake issue at our test in Palm Beach but fixed that in Immokalee.
"I try to emulate my uncle Jeg with my driving. He is a machine in his Pro Stock car and I try to do the same thing in my car. You want to do your burnout, back up, look at the bulbs in the Christmas Tree, react, even hold your head exactly the same way every time. It's repetition that makes you a good driver. Then if the other guy beats you, you know he beat you straight up, not because you made a mistake."
This weekend's race runs from Friday through Sunday.