CHARLOTTE (Sept. 13) – Five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. has lots of experience bracket racing, so he understands how consistent a Dodge he has for the NHRA Carolina Nationals this weekend at zMax Dragway.

Coughlin qualified No. 7 with a top pass of 6.602 seconds at 209.33 mph, but his other three passes have been within .011 seconds of that.

"It's been really nice," Coughlin said. "There's only really one car out there that's been as consistent – and quicker – and that's (No. 1 qualifier) Erica (Enders-Stevens'.

"We'll see if we can't be on our best behavior tomorrow, run hard and run smart and see if we can't turn on some win lights."

Coughlin starts to the Countdown to the Championship in fourth place in the Pro Stock standings, 50 points behind points leader Jason Line. Coughlin faces Line's teammate Greg Anderson in the first round of eliminations after Anderson qualified No. 10 with a pass of 6.618 seconds at 209.72 mph.

Weather conditions could be drastically different Sunday. After hot, muggy weather Friday and Saturday, the forecast high temperature is only in the mid-70s.

"We'll wait and see what shows up from Mother Nature," Coughlin said. "As I was leaving the trailer, they were looking at the run, trying to see how they could've made it a little bit better. They'll fix it up accordingly for the weather tomorrow.

"It's supposed to be a big change from what we have seen. The track will be a lot cooler, and the air density should be less and should be faster all the way around. That'll make the crew chiefs earn their keep, but they love, we love, and the fans love it, so it should be a good show."

Coughlin will have some momentum, too, as he was second-quickest in the final qualifying session with his second 6.604-second pass of the day – this one at 209.14 mph.

"We didn't make a great, great run this morning," Coughlin said. The car was a little bit tight, a little bit heavy all the way down the race track, just kinda sluggish. They did a nice job waking it up there in the final run.

"Obviously, it was worse conditions and ran just a little but better."


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