RICHMOND, Va. (Oct. 11) — Reigning Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. made the quickest quarter-mile pass of his illustrious career Saturday to move from out of the field to the lofty No. 2 qualifying position at the third annual Virginia NHRA Nationals. Coughlin’s 6.554 at 209.10 mph also set a Virginia Motorsports Park elapsed time record.

The 38-year-old Coughlin was considerably happier at the end of Saturday’s action than he was Friday evening when his disagreeable Chevrolet Cobalt had left him in 13th place overall. According to Coughlin, the team “changed everything but the paint and the driver” overnight and the dividends were obvious.

“I was rolling up there hoping something else didn’t go wrong but that feeling went away real quick when I did the burnout,” Coughlin said of his run of record. “I could just feel how sharp the motor was. She was raring to go. There was a crispness to the sound it was making that I hadn’t heard in a couple of races.

“As I was charging down the track, clicking through the gears, I knew it was flying. I was just waiting for the finish line to get there so I could hear what we had run. I knew it was going to be a big number and I was right.

“What a job by the entire team. There was a lot of hustling behind the scenes to make me look good out there. Carl Foltz told me he was on to something and I think I just felt what he was talking about.”

Ranging from top qualifier Greg Anderson’s 6.554 to No. 16 qualifier Steve Spiess’ 6.590, this marks the quickest field of Pro Stock cars ever assembled.

“It’s an honor just to be in this field, let alone to be the No. 2 qualifier,” Coughlin said. “We were No. 1 after that round but Greg managed to equal our ET in the fourth session and he got the No. 1 spot on speed, but that takes nothing away from our effort.

“Being in the quickest field ever tells me that all 16 cars are going to be tough and all 16 teams are going to bed tonight thinking they’ve got a car that can win this race. It’s gonna be on the drivers again tomorrow and I like our chances.”

Coughlin will open against No. 15 qualifier John Nobile, who went 6.590 at 208.97 mph, which was a career-best pass for the native New Yorker.

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