CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 13) — Reigning NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. will start from the No. 2 spot during tomorrow’s final eliminations at the inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals at zMax Dragway. Coughlin prepared for race day by driving his Chevy Cobalt to a solid 6.703 during Saturday’s final qualifying session.

“We had the fourth quickest car in the last session so I feel pretty confident about our chances tomorrow,” said Coughlin. “This is a brand new track and the first race in the Countdown to 1 so we’re all feeling a lot of pressure right now. Tomorrow, we’ll be following the nitro cars for the first time so that will be another new element that we’ll have to deal with. None of the Pro Stock teams have much data from this track so we’re all guessing a bit. Fortunately, our team is usually pretty stout on Sunday so I think we’ll be okay.”

Coughlin had to abort Saturday’s first run after his car spun the tires off the starting line and made a hard move towards the retaining wall. Coughlin’s quick reflexes prevented a potential disaster as he was able to steer the car back into the center of his lane.

“That got my attention,” said Coughlin. “As soon as I dropped the clutch the car spun the tires pretty hard. I hit second gear and the car spun harder and I had to lift. The car got a bit closer to the wall than I would have liked, but I was able to tug on the wheel and get it straightened out.”

In the first race of the six-race NHRA Countdown to 1 playoff system, Coughlin, who enters as the No. 3 seed, will be paired with fellow Countdown qualifier Greg Stanfield in round one.

“Tomorrow is the real deal,” Coughlin continued. “We’ve got to have a good day if we’re going to defend this championship. We’ve got another Countdown qualifier in the first round so the script is good. We just need to go out and execute our game plan and we’ll be just fine.”

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