TOPEKA, Kan. (May 23) — The difference between winning and losing in the cutthroat world of Pro Stock drag racing is measured in thousandths of a second. Sunday at Heartland Park Topeka, five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. was reminded of that fact when he eliminated himself in the opening round of competition on a -.005 second red-light foul start.

“We’ve got nothing to hang our heads about,” Coughlin said. “This happens in drag racing and fortunately for us it doesn’t happen very often.

“I was ready for the race and I was definitely up on the wheel looking for a good light. I wanted to be in the range of .015 to .025 seconds, but I jumped a little too soon and our day was over.”

After winning the last event in Atlanta and qualifying No. 3 overall on the Topeka grid, Coughlin was a favorite to contend for the title of this event. But his foul start negated a 6.709-second run at 205.04 mph in his Chevrolet Cobalt that would have beaten opponent Kurt Johnson’s 6.735 at 205.07 mph.

“The car has worked well all weekend,” Coughlin said. “We expected a high 6.60 in Round 1 and that’s about what we got. It was a nice, efficient run and one that could have carried us to the win. It just wasn’t meant to be today.

“We’ll pack up, take a weekend off with our families, and get ready for Chicago, one of my favorite races of the year because we run the JEGS Allstars event there.”


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