POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 10) — A sun-splashed Friday in Southern California made it tough on the racers attempting to qualify for the 42nd annual Auto Club NHRA Finals. But defending race champion Jeg Coughlin seemed unfazed, running an improved 7.714 at 206.23 mph in his Slammers Ultimate Milk/Jegs.com Chevrolet Cobalt to move into the top half of the provisional Pro Stock ladder.

“We improved today and that’s always encouraging,” Coughlin said. “We still need to optimize the set-up just a bit and this car will pick up three or four hundredths. If we can get into the 6.6s, we’ll be very happy with where we are heading into eliminations. Certainly this race team is capable of figuring out the perfect tune-up.”

The weatherman might help Coughlin and crew achieve their performance goals as weekend temperatures are expected to cool slightly, which will help the naturally-aspirated Pro Stock engines.

“Cool weather equals horsepower,” Coughlin said. “Plus, it helps the racing surface tighten up. It’s really coming around as far as the amount of rubber goes. I’d expect Saturday’s early session will be the one to that basically sets the field. We’ll need to be prepared for it.”

Coughlin has 47 national event wins to his credit, including last year’s Auto Club NHRA Finals. The three-time series champion has missed most of the professional schedule this year but has raced in numerous high-dollar bracket races this year, collecting several trophies. Following this weekend’s race, he’ll fly to Moroso Motorsports Park in Florida for the 5-Day S&W Moroso Bracket Championships.

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