ARLINGTON, Texas (Sept. 24) – Five-time world champion drag racer Jeg Coughlin Jr. is best known for his exploits behind the wheel of his 210-mph JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt Pro Stock car. But when the affable pro from Delaware, Ohio, isn’t zipping dow the strip, he can usually be found at the local bowling alley, knocking down pins.
So when he got a chance to visit the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas, prior to the start of this weekend’s race in nearby Ennis, Coughlin jumped at the opportunity. A United States Bowling Congress member and long-time league bowler, Coughlin was joined at the IBC by fellow Pro Stock driver, Allen Johnson, a youth bowler when he was a boy.
The trip included a guided tour of the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, a look behind the scenes of the research side of the International Training and Research Center, and some time on the lanes with USBC Silver coach Bryan O’Keefe and Team USA member Mike Fagan on the training side of the ITRC.
“I think from a novice standpoint, learning about the different balls and lane conditions was great, and I have a lot to digest from this tour,” said Coughlin, who averaged 183 in 63 games last year at Delaware Lanes in his hometown. “The museum and hall of fame were neat to see, and I really enjoyed the technology side of things. There are a lot of similarities between racing and bowling.”
During an NHRA-leading seven-win season in 2009, Coughlin and nine of his fellow drivers and crew members, including Johnson, made time to compete in the 2009 USBC Open Championships in Las Vegas, which featured a near-record 17,200 teams.
As Coughlin continues to learn the nuances of bowling, his experience at the world’s largest participatory sporting event and the IBC will stand out.
“Being here and being at the Open were real eye-openers for me,” said Coughlin, who ranks ninth all-time with 66 career NHRA wins and fourth with 52 Pro Stock victories. “I’ve bowled locally at home, but the atmosphere and the conditions are a lot different. I know I have a lot to learn, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Now, the 1998 NHRA Rookie of the Year has found a way to combine his passions for racing and bowling. He plans to install a pair of bowling lanes in his new shop at his home just north of Columbus, Ohio.
“I think it will be fun for family and friends to be able to enjoy the sport of bowling, too,” Coughlin said. “And with the traveling I do, it is nice to be able to stay close to home when I’m in town but still spend time doing something I enjoy.”
The track is being prepared and Sportsman racing will begin shortly. It is dry and 73 degrees outside and feels perfect for drag racing. The first pro session will begin with Top Fuel around 11:15am this morning. The final pro qualifying session will start around 2:30pm this afternoon. Get your tickets now and come on out to be a part of history.
The first day of pro qualifying got underway Friday afternoon with the Pro Stock Motorcycles. Karen Stoffer took the top spot with a 6.953, followed closely by Eddie Krawiec with a 6.955. Steve Johnson rounded out the Top 3 in the first round.
In pro stock cars Jason line lead the pack with a 6.644 followed by Mike Edwards and Line’s teammate Greg Anderson in third.
The first round of Funny Cars saw Tim Wilkerson grab the number one spot with a 4.325. Jeff Arend drove his DHL Solara into second place with a time of 4.34. John Force closed out the top three and increased his lead over Robert Hight to five.
Top Fuel point’s leader, Larry Dixon, added to his lead by grabbing the top spot with a time of 3.962. Brandon Bernstein and Cory McClenathan finished second and third.
Round two of Pro Stock Motorcycles saw Karen Stoffer keep her number one qualifying position while Eddie Krawiec set a new track speed record of 195.03mph.
In Pro Stock Car, Allen Johnson climbed his way to the top spot with a time of 6.632. First round leader Jason Line held on to the second place position followed by Mike Edwards.
Cruz Pedregon, who has won this event twice, powered his way to the top qualifier spot with a 4.129. Jeff Arend and Tim Wilkerson flip-flopped places to end the second round.
Top Fuel saw better times from everyone, but Larry Dixon was able to hold onto his number one qualifiers position with a 3.852. Cory McClenathan and Brandon Bernstein swapped places but remained in the top three at the end of the day.
Gates will open Saturday at 7:30am with the third round of Pro Stock Qualifying starting around 11:15am. Tickets are still available to catch all of the action at the 25th Anniversary O’Reilly Fall Nationals.
The 25th Anniversary O’Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis is underway. The first round of Pro Qualifying is finished with the second round scheduled for later tonight. The weather is great so come on out and catch all of the action tonight. You can also find updates for each round of qualifying under the Fall Nationals section of texasmotorplex.com.
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 23, 2010) – Texas Motorplex opened its gates for an NHRA national event for the first time in September 1986. It was a turning point in drag racing history, as no other facility had featured an all-concrete racing surface and fan and racer amenities as never seen before in racing.
The year was 1986. What else happened that year?
- “We Are The World” won a Grammy as Record of the Year
- “No Jacket Required” by Phil Collins won Grammy for Album of the Year.
- First ten musicians are voted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
- Top box office films include Top Gun, Crocodile Dundee, Platoon and Aliens.
- IBM unveils the PC Convertible – the first laptop computer.
- Roger Clemens set the record for the most strikeouts in a nine-inning MLB game, striking out 20 batters.
- The first Martin Luther King Day is observed.
- Space shuttle Challenger disintegrates 73 seconds after launch, killing the crew of astronauts.
- “Out of Africa” wins best picture of the year.
- The Chernobyl disaster happened.
- Geralda Rivera opens Al Capone’s secrete vault on “The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vault” TV show discovering only a bottle of moonshine.
- Hands Across America – at least 5,000,000 people form a human chain from NYC to Long Beach CA, to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness.
- The Statue of Liberty is reopened to the public after extensive refurbishing.
- Georgia O’Keefe, American Artist died.
- Smoking is banned on all public transport including planes, trains, busses, and coaches.
The Texas Motorplex was the first all-concrete stadium-style drag racing facility ever constructed. Built in 1986, The Texas Motorplex has been the place of many drag racing milestones and world record performances. The Billy Meyer-owned facility hosts a number of racing and car show events between March and November each year and also features the Champions Club – an 11,000 square-foot facility – that serves fully catered events throughout the year.