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Friday, May 9

Coughlin hires Gamache from DEI
By Bill Stephens

The clock is ticking for Team Jeg's.

With seven races down in the 23- race NHRA season, defending Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. knows time is becoming a factor. He is winless in 2003 and has advanced to just a single final round. Also, he has been no higher than fourth in the points -- his current ranking.

With Warren and Kurt Johnson, as well as Greg Anderson, showing no signs of weakening their grip on the category, Coughlin must start asserting himself into the mix, or face being left behind.

This week, the popular Columbus, Ohio-based operation brought a new research and development expert aboard. The new employee brings a wealth of racing knowledge with him -- especially in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Jim Gamache will head up Team Jeg's R&D efforts and attempt to bring a much-needed boost to their lukewarm season to date.

Gamache most recently served as Engineering Manager for Dale Earnhardt Inc., where he and Team Manager Steve Hmeil supervised the engine, vehicle dynamics and powertrain elements for the organization. Gamache also brings an impressive drag racing background to the table, having worked for long-time Pro Stock engine supplier Reher & Morrison some 20 years ago.

"We're very happy to have Jim join our team, especially with the vast experience he brings along in so many different areas," said Scott "Woody" Woodruff, Team Jeg's spokesman. "It's a perfect fit for us and we expect him to start having a positive impact on our team right from the get-go.

We feel in order for us to have the kind of performance necessary to get back into championship form, our R&D department will have to improve in several areas and Jim is the right person to help get it done."

With a weekend off for Mother's Day, the NHRA will resume next week at the K&N Supernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. With the stop, Team Jeg's is hoping for their early season malaise to finally pass.

The event will be doubly important to the Pro Stock class since the $50,000 King Demon Crown will be held as part of qualifying on Saturday, May 17 -- a race within a race which Coughlin has won twice, in 1999 and 2000.

"What better race than this one to get us back on track," Woodruff said. "The whole team really looks forward to E-town and if we can chalk up a win, we'll feel a lot better about our chances the rest of the season."

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