LAS VEGAS (March 6) – The good news for Jeg Coughlin Jr. was he ran the second-quickest time of the first round of Saturday's K&N Horsepower Challenge at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The downside was that the JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger ran that pass against the quickest time of the first round, posted by Coughlin's teammate Allen Johnson.
Although Coughlin was bounced early from the K&N Challenge, it doesn't mean his Dodge is an underperformer. For Sunday's eliminations, Coughlin will start third after a best pass of 6.655 seconds at 207.34 mph.
"Our plan has been to peck away at this thing and try to make consistent runs," Coughlin said. "That's what we've done this weekend. Qualifying No. 3 is nice, and it took the sting out of getting nipped there in the first round of the K&N Challenge."
Coughlin earned the No. 8 and final position in the K&N Challenge through the fan vote, which matched him with No. 1 qualifier and defending Pro Stock champion Johnson.
The JEGS Avenger was off the starting line first but encountered the slightest of problems right after that.
"Our most inopportune run came this morning against Allen," Coughlin said. "We spun the tires just a little bit coming out of the gate and lost a hundredth of a second to the first 60 foot, and we were just welded together from there.
"Allen had lane choice and at the last minute he went with the lane that had a little more cloud cover on it, which proved to be a good call."
Johnson crossed the finish line in 6.652 seconds at 207.53 mph with Coughlin right on his heels with a pass of 6.675 seconds at 207.56 mph.
"We picked the wrong time to not run well," Coughlin said. "We tamed my car down a little to try and control the lane we were in. We did the second best job out of anybody that round. We were just next to the wrong guy.
"But on the bright side, I think we've got a strong car for tomorrow. That's what we're here for: To win the event."
Coughlin starts his march to another Vegas win Sunday afternoon against No. 14 qualifier Matt Hartford, who had a best lap of 6.726 seconds at 205.26 mph.
"We made four good qualifying runs and got some bonus points to boot," Coughlin said. "That's extremely exciting because it means we were one of the top three cars every session. That consistency gives myself and the rest of the team a lot of confidence going into Sunday."
Eliminations from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway get under way at 11 a.m. PDT Sunday.