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How do you feel about visiting some of the smaller tracks with the Pro Mod car after getting used to running on only the biggest, best-prepped strips in the country?

Coughlin: It’s okay, because I think it will kind of re-teach me to be an offensive driver — or a defensive driver in some cases. Some of these tracks might be a bit narrower and not as smooth as I was used to running, but they’ll help to make me a better driver. And before I got into Pro Stock I did a lot of Outlaw Pro Stock racing and Quick 8s back at home with my Super Gas car, so I’ve been on a lot of these kinds of strips before. Besides, these track guys work their tails off to give us a good surface; these guys in Hattiesburg, they’ve done a great job.


Has the Pro Mod fraternity welcomed you to the class?

Coughlin: Yeah, they’ve been really good about it — better actually than the Pro Stock guys were when I made the move up from the Sportsman classes. I’ve become pretty decent friends with guys like Troy Critchley and Tommy Mauney; I’ve known Shannon Jenkins, Ed Hoover, Paul Trussell for a long time and they’re all good people. I’ve been talking with those guys a lot for about the last four years because I’ve always been interested in the class, but we had such a financial involvement in the Pro Stock stuff that we never made the move. It’s a good group of guys to race with, a good, happy family group I guess you could say.

How long have you known your new teammate, Mike Ashley?

Coughlin: Oh geez, I’ve known Mike eight or nine years I’d say, pretty much through all his Pro Mod days.

How is the ownership structured for the Pro Mod team?

Coughlin: It’s all Mike’s stuff, all his trucks and trailers and cars and parts and engines and team. I’m kind of sponsoring the car and driving, but it’s all his artillery — and there’s a lot of stuff here. He’s done a really good job building this team, very professional.

Are you looking at this year as an experiment or is it a long-term deal?

Coughlin: I look at this as more of a long-term thing. I don’t know if there’s a one-, or two-, or five-year contract of any kind; it’s more of a ‘Hey-let’s-get-together-and-go-racing-and-make-money-and-have-fun-and-put-the-name-out-there’ kind of deal.

Is putting the Jeg’s brand on a Pro Mod car an attempt to reach a different drag racing crowd?

Coughlin: I think it doesn’t hurt, that’s for sure. But I think that running the Ford Mustang is a bigger hit with our Ford customers because I get e-mails all the time from people who’ve bought from Jeg’s saying it’s great we’re running a Ford. And I’d bet there’s been 50 people come up to me saying it’s cool to see me racing something other than a Chevy, and it’s neat that my brother’s running a Dodge, so it’s definitely a change and it’s very gratifying to receive that support. Our P.R. guy, Scott Woodruff, told me the Ford people have a picture of our Mustang hanging on their wall already, so that’s pretty cool, too. That’s pretty big for us.


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