SEATTLE (July 11) – An uncharacteristic red light by Jeg Coughlin Jr. on Sunday led to his early departure from the NHRA Northwest Nationals.
Coughlin fouled out in the first round of eliminations against Rodger Brogdon by .007 seconds, a rare red light from a driver who is normally an ace on the Christmas tree in the JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt.
“I didn’t think I had that in me today,” Coughlin said. “We’re cutting things into the thousandths of a second. It’s not to be. Rodger had a good run and it would have been tough to beat. My car was a little light on the clutch and it may or may not have made it to the other end.”
The entire first round of Pro Stock competition was a little off the norm when some of the competitors refused to take to the track after the first two pairs of cars went down the track. The NHRA sent the rest of the cars back to the pits and the round resumed after the second round of nitro eliminations.
“That thing was fairly unfortunate,” Coughlin said. “Some of the competitors weren’t real happy with the way the track looked, so the NHRA just pulled us out of line. They said if you don’t want to race, we’ll bring the next class up.”
When the round was interrupted, the morning clouds were still hanging low in the sky. When the cars resumed the round, the sun had burned through and track temperatures went up.
“We need to build our confidence in the pits and keep my head on straight,” Coughlin said. “I was real comfortable coming into this morning. I remember thinking when we were in the overcast that where we had our clutch linkage was going to have me pretty close to red-lighting.
“Once the sun came out, I felt like I was in a good comfort zone, but I must have just clocked it.”
Coughlin said he will stay out west and relax before heading to Sonoma, Calif., for the July 16-18 Fram Autolite Nationals.
“We’ll head to wine country and look to run the way we know we’re capable of,” Coughlin said. “We just need to catch that stride, which we’ll get.”
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