SONOMA, Calif. (July 25) — A lengthy opening day pushed Friday’s second session of professional qualifying into the evening hours, which allowed reigning world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. and the rest of his Pro Stock counterparts to unload all of their horsepower on Infineon Raceway. Coughlin’s resulting 6.640 at 207.53 mph was a full .034 seconds quicker than his first run and lifted him to seventh on the Day 1 ladder.

“We’re off to our best start of the last three, four races so we’re pretty pleased with today’s racing,” Coughlin said. “The car’s consistent and we were able to improve our performance quite a bit from one round to the next so it’s obviously responding well to what we’re doing with the tune-up.

“I’d like to see us be a little more efficient in the first 20-30 feet of each run. If we can do that, we’ll be right where we need to be moving forward.”

A veteran of racing in the Sonoma Valley off the northern reaches of San Francisco Bay, Coughlin knows that Saturday’s first session of time trials, scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m., can be the best one of the weekend. There also is a final qualifying session scheduled for 2:15 p.m.

“It’s funny, but this place can surprise you at all hours of the day and night,” Coughlin said. “From everything I’ve seen and heard, it will be cooler in the morning so we need to be ready to get after it, and I’m confident we will be ready to step it up.

“I feel like I’ve got a ring of confidence in my voice. I really am feeling excited about what we’re doing and where we’re going at the moment.”

Coughlin is a former winner at Infineon Raceway, having won there in 2003. Ranked as high as first place in the POWERade points on two separate occasions this year, Coughlin is currently fourth, 182 points out of the lead.

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