Five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. made NHRA drag racing history Monday at Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, Calif., by becoming the first driver in the 60 years of the sport's existence to win in six different categories.
In the sixth and final round of Super Comp, Coughlin beat Tom McBride by 13 feet to take the title of the rain-delayed JEGS Pacific SPORTSnationals, running a 9.034-second pass at 160.46 mph ahead of McBride's 9.052 at 167.07 mph. Coughlin has now claimed trophies in Pro Stock, Competition Eliminator, Top Dragster, Super Gas, Super Stock, and Super Comp.
Four other racers -- Scotty Richardson, David Rampy, Greg Stanfield, and Peter Biondo -- have won in five different classes, but Coughlin now stands alone with six.
"What a deal," Coughlin said in the winner's circle. "To be the first to six is really neat. It's incredibly hard to win at the national level in any of these Sportsman classes and to have now won in six different classes…I don't know that it's sunk in yet. It's pretty special.
"We did a lot of homework in the offseason to get these cars together. Gary Stinnett built some exceptional engines for us and Kurt Damron from Undercover Chassis built the cars. Those two guys are both world champions in Super Comp and the advice they offered along the way was invaluable. Having my buddy Kyle Seipel along this weekend also proved to be very helpful. He's a legend out here on the west coast and I soaked in everything he told me."
The 40-year-old from Delaware, Ohio, nearly doubled up, reaching the final round of Super Gas before fouling out at the starting line by -.004 seconds against Tom Bayer. Like Super Comp, it took six rounds of eliminations to determine a winner.
"I've been in position to double-up on three other occasions but I've never managed to get it done," Coughlin said. "It would have been extra special for that to have happened but I'm not complaining about this weekend. It's one I'll remember for the rest of my life."
It was a busy and successful four days for Coughlin. On Saturday evening he won the Super Gas Shootout, a jackpot race that paid nearly $2,000.
"On our list of things we wanted to accomplish this year was getting a win in Super Comp and collecting one of these pewter 60th anniversary Wally trophies," Coughlin said. "We managed to get both things done early in the year here and that's awesome. The cars are perfect and it seems like all we need to do is maintain them properly.
"We were a little shaken by the news of Kurt Damron's accident in Atlanta and we certainly want him to know he's in all of our thoughts and prayers. If it wasn't for him putting in so much time on my racecar, I might not be standing here right now."