INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 1) – JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. has raced 13 times in the U.S. Nationals, but the four-time Pro Stock champion is as fired up as he's ever been for Monday's eliminations at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Why? For starters, of course, it's the U.S. Nationals, NHRA's most prestigious race. Coughlin secured the No. 3 qualifying position in Pro Stock, giving him a favorable spot from which to try to win his fifth U.S. Nationals title.
And this year's edition has been fun and challenging for drivers and teams, as they've had to face changing weather conditions through the three days of qualifying.
"It's going to be an exciting day," Coughlin said of race day. "There's no better backdrop than Indy to have these types of changes for the crew chiefs and the drivers. The fans have been packing this place all week, too.
"We kicked it off in grand style earlier in the week with the preview of the "Snake and Mongoose" movie. It's got me as jacked as ever."
Coughlin won the Pro Stock title at Indy in 2009, 2002 and 2000 and also won the Super Gas title in 1992. He'll begin chasing his 55th career Pro Stock victory against Rodger Brogdon, who qualified No. 14 with a lap of was 6.689 seconds at 206.39 mph.
Coughlin's top lap was 6.637 seconds at 206.99 mph, run in Sunday's first session, and that was third-quickest of the session. He later made a solid pass of 6.652 seconds at 206.89 mph in Q4 that was sixth in the session.
"I was really happy with my car in both runs today," Coughlin said. "Going into Monday, gameday, I couldn't be more confident."
Coughlin is hoping to bounce back from a first-round defeat in Brainerd, Minn., and return to the form that sent him to two consecutive final rounds, in Sonoma and Seattle.
"I think we've done a good job from Brainerd and in our testing efforts in St. Louis," Coughlin said. "I think we've done a good job in our transitions with the weather. We're going to be faced with that again coming into Monday. It's supposed another 10 degrees cooler Monday, and that's what these Pro Stock cars want.
"If the track stays the same as it's been the last three days, we’re going to have to be craft because we're going to be making more horsepower. If we've got a lot of cloud cover and the track stays tight, we're going to be able to fly."