HOUSTON (March 28) — A late-season cool front dropped temperatures into the 40s overnight at Houston Raceway Park and paved the way for two spectacular qualifying sessions Saturday. Back-to-back and reigning Pro Stock champion took advantage of the perfect conditions and rocketed to a 6.574 at 209.79 mph, earning him the sixth position heading into race day.

After rain stretched Friday’s action into the late-night hours and forced the outright cancellation of the day’s second session, the conversation in Victor Cagnazzi Racing’s pit around the JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt turned to maximizing performance in what many expected to be great atmospheric conditions at the track, which is located just 11 feet above sea level and a stone’s throw from Galveston Bay.

“We got a lot quicker and so did everyone else,” Coughlin said. “It’s a lot of fun to encounter conditions like this because you can absolutely make more power than you can in other places. I know my crew chief, Roy Simmons, and the rest of the boys were anxious to get out there and run the car. We would have made 20 passes if they would let us.

“We’re pecking away at the car and the tune-up. These things are a bit touchy and you don’t want to ever make huge moves. You kind of need to sneak up on it bit by bit and we’re doing that. Hopefully, we pick it up a bit more tomorrow and go some rounds.”

Coughlin will begin his quest for a fourth Houston race title against David Beckley, who qualified 11th with a 6.592 at 209.46 mph. The two men have never raced, making Beckley the 56th different Pro Stock driver Coughlin has faced in his career.

A 38-year-old from Delaware, Ohio, Coughlin won this event in 1997, ’98, and ’00. His win in ’97 was the first of his professional career.

“Everyone has stepped up their game this year,” Coughlin said. “Pro Stock has always been a very tough category and, even though we say it every year, it somehow gets tougher each season. The hitters are all doing some impressive things with their racecars and we’ll need to stay on our toes all season.”

Weather forecasts for Sunday’s eliminations mirror Saturday’s exceptional conditions. Pro Stock’s opening round should kick off around noon.

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Media Contact:
Scott "Woody" Woodruff
JEGS, Director of Media & Motorsports
Office: 800-345-4545 (ext. 1412)
Direct: 614-737-3617
Mobile: 614-595-1820
Fax: 740-362-5507
Email: woody@jegs.com