GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 17) — Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. successfully secured a position in one of the quickest 16-car elimination fields ever assembled Saturday at the 38th annual Gatornationals. Coughlin’s Round 3 pass of 6.601 at 209.43 mph — both the quickest and fastest pass of his decorated career — placed Coughlin 8th on the ladder.

“It’s always a good thing when you reset your career best numbers and it feels great to do here at Gainesville Raceway,” said Coughlin.

Coughlin was the early leader here, topping the Friday qualifying sheet with a 6.632 at 207.75 mph in his Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevrolet Cobalt. But an overnight cooling trend turned venerable Gainesville Raceway into a speed factory with nearly everyone in the category recording personal best numbers.

“The conditions we had today were almost perfect for Pro Stock,” said Coughlin. “The weather conditions tomorrow are expected to be very close to what we had today, so this Slammers Ultimate Milk team should be able the translate our team data from qualifying into a solid set up for race day.”

A former winner at this event, Coughlin’s voyage to this year’s victory circle begins against Allen Johnson, who qualified 9th with a 6.602.

A mere five-thousandths of a second error quickly reduced Coughlin to spectator status after the opening round of Super Stock Saturday morning. Coughlin dialed in his Chevrolet Cavalier during Thursday’s qualifying rounds, which took place under fairly warm temperatures. By the time he ran the first round of eliminations, the vastly different atmospheric conditions made him a little too fast, and he broke out of his index by .005 seconds.

“It got so good out there we were well over a tenth of a second quicker and we basically didn’t touch the car since qualifying,” said Coughlin, who qualified with a 8.788 but ran a 8.655 against a 8.66 index. “We made the adjustments we deemed necessary for the air we had out there but I guess we just missed it. I was on the brakes hard but a still broke out. That’s Super Stock for you.”

Despite the first-round exit, Coughlin collected his second class trophy of the year in the Super Stock category by having the quickest C-Modified entry. “Lil’ Jeggy will be happy because he loves it when I bring home a Wally,” Coughlin said.

Sunday’s professional eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

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