Just weeks after the successful conclusion of JEGS Speedweek at National Trail Raceway, the popular JEGS SPORTSnationals will make its first stop in the Northeast this Thursday-Sunday at historic New England Dragway.
The event, which will be run in conjunction with an NHRA Division 1 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event, will crown champions in eight different classes: Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street, Top Dragster, and Top Sportsman.Established in 1974 at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Ky., the SPORTSnationals has become a popular showcase for NHRA’s best sportsman drag racers. Over the last 46 years, the event has made stops in Denver, Indianapolis, Houston, Las Vegas, Fontana, Calif., Hebron, Ohio, and Belle Rose, La.
At the recent JEGS Speedweek race at National Trail Raceway, sportsman star Anthony Bertozzi made history by winning a record fifth JEGS SPORTSnationals title. Bertozzi won the Top Dragster title by beating the JEGS.com dragster of Mike Coughlin in the final.
Bertozzi and Coughlin are both expected to be among the leading contenders in Epping as they continue their battle for the national championship in the Vortech Superchargers Top Dragster division.
Bertozzi is the current points leader in Top Dragster while Coughlin is ranked 25th, despite having attended just one national event so far.
“I’ve never been to New England Dragway but I’m really looking forward to it,” Coughlin said. “I’ve been told it’s a nostalgic place, an old-school track, and I really enjoy those kind of places. I also know there are a lot of great restaurants and great seafood in that part of the country.”
The New England area is also the home of Dan Page Race Cars. Page built Coughlin’s current supercharged Top Dragster, which is capable of low six-second elapsed times at more than 230 mph.
“My car has been running great over the last few weeks,” Coughlin said. “We don’t even need to make any changes, just maintain it from race-to-race. Getting to the final [at the JEGS SPORTSnationals] was a huge confidence booster.
“I don’t like losing but after that race I wasn’t disappointed one bit. When you race against Anthony he’s the best there is. My car also ran great in Indy last weekend and before that when we were in Topeka. I’m also liking the double-races That’s a win for everyone when you can run two events with half the travel.”
Coughlin is the only Team JEGS driver racing in Epping, but he’ll have the full support of longtime crew chief Greg Coty and crewmen Tony Collier, Dave Ruark and Ryan Micke. Coughlin will also be joined by his son, Clay, who is preparing to make the transition from Jr. Dragsters to NHRA sportsman racing in the near future.
The Northeast Division is home to a number of past JEGS SPORTSnationals winners including 104-time national event winner Dan Fletcher, multi-time divisional Super Gas champ Mike Sawyer, and Steve Szupka.
Much like the other JEGS SPORTSnaitonals races, the Epping event is expected to feature the same mixture of fierce on-track competition, and friendly off-track camaraderie.