CHARLOTTE (April 14) — After a Friday the 13th he’d just as soon forget, five-time world champion drag racer Jeg Coughlin Jr. rebounded enough during Saturday’s action to earn the final spot in the field at the third annual NHRA 4-Wide Nationals.

Coughlin failed to get his /Mopar Dodge Avenger down the racetrack in the first two qualifying session but his crew worked overtime last night to correct a myriad of nagging issues. The car responded well in Saturday’s first pass, posting a 6.589 at 211.63 mph, and then improved to a 6.587 at 211.30 mph in Round 4.

“The two pairs of runs we made were very similar,” Coughlin said. “On Friday the 13th, both runs were terrible, which is just a coincidence because normally 13 is a lucky number for me. Today we had two almost identical 6.58s, so we’re moving in the right direction.

“We were happy to get down the racetrack today but we left a lot on the table. In Pro Stock terms that’s four or five hundredths of a second. That would have put us in the thick of the pack but it wasn’t meant to be. We did come a long way after a short evening’s rest and we’re gonna have to come a ways further before tomorrow. The good news is we’re very capable of doing just that.”

Under the unique 4-Wide format, Coughlin will face Jason Line, Ronnie Humphrey and Rodger Brogdon in Sunday’s first round of eliminations. The two quickest cars out of the foursome will advance to the semifinals.

“Two of the four will move on and I like those odds,” Coughlin said. “It’s a unique format and it makes it interesting.

“We were prepared to make some wholesale changes if the car didn’t respond in Q3 but we went from having too much wheel speed to having a ton of bite and the guys were able to adjust from there. We think we know what to do and now we need to go out there and win a few rounds and try to grab a hold of that Wally trophy.”

Pro Stock eliminations begin at noon. All action will be shown on ESPN2.


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