SEATTLE (Aug. 2) — A highlight of his three-race debut with Elite Motorsports last season was five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr.'s runner-up finish at the NHRA stop in Seattle. At this year's 29th annual ProtectTheHarvest.com Northwest NHRA Nationals, Coughlin is hoping to take his Magneti Marelli offered by Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Dart one step farther and end the day in the winner's circle.
"Our goal is to try and be a little more aggressive earlier in the weekend and give ourselves some real momentum going into Sunday, no matter where we end up qualified," Coughlin said. "Quite honestly, we were never really quite there last weekend in Sonoma and in our post-race shakedown, we have decided we are just going to try to prepare a little more aggressively and take our chances.
"Both of these Dodges (Coughlin's and teammate Erica Enders' Dart) really showed some life two weeks ago in Denver and we'd like to get back to those taking that forward."
To that end, five of the team's powerplants were transported back to the shop in Wynnewood, Okla., so engine builders Nick Ferri and Jake Hairston can freshen them up completely and have time for a few dyno pulls.
"We had two different groups running motors back to Oklahoma. The first left Saturday with three engines and Erica and Richard (Freeman, team owner) and a couple of the crew guys left with two more on Sunday. Jake and Nick are flying back to get there as quickly as possible and they'll dive right in. We have a lot to do in a few days time, including getting them back to the West Coast."
In the meantime, Coughlin will aim his RV north with wife Samantha, a successful Sportsman racer in her own right, and the couple's one-year-old daughter Carly.
"I get guilty of saying, as we prepare for various events, that this is one of my favorite tracks or that’s one of my favorite tracks, but you know, Pacific Raceways really is a tremendous place," said Coughlin, who won the event in 2002. "It has a ton of history, a ton of heritage, the backdrop with Mt. Rainier and the other mountains and the pines lining the road course is just simply amazing.
"I always take time to walk around on Fridays and Saturdays and even Sunday mornings getting ready for race day, walking the road course by myself, and you're reminded of this track's beauty. It’s a fun race. Plus, we get a lot of our friends from up north of the border there on the west coast of Canada so it’s an all around good time."
Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2:30 and 5:30 p.m., Friday, and 1 and 4 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations start at noon, Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will air qualifying action from 5-6 p.m., Friday, and 11-12 p.m., Saturday. FOX will carry eliminations live from 1-4 p.m., Sunday. (All times listed in PT).