CONCORD, N.C. (April 29) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. knew his Rick Jones-built JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro was a great racecar since the beginning of the season. It just took him a few races to let everyone else know.
For the second straight national event, the five-time Pro Stock champion has the quickest car in the factory hot rod class. This weekend, in qualifying for the eighth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Coughlin used an impressive 6.578-second pass at 210.24 mph to get the job done.
"Obviously to get our second No. 1 qualifying effort in back-to-back weeks is very satisfying," Coughlin said. "It shows we have regained a great tune-up and have some real confidence in our current set-up. I think our crew chief braintrust of Mark Ingersoll, Rick Jones and Brian Self here at the track are doing a really nice job with everything and I feel really confident behind the wheel. That's a good combination."
Last weekend in Houston, Coughlin converted his top-qualifying effort into a season-best runner-up result. Still, he knows qualifying No. 1 here doesn't guarantee anything on race day, although he admits to finding a great deal of comfort knowing his racecar is performing well, as is the car of teammate Erica Enders, who qualified second overall.
"The team is doing a heck of a job," Coughlin said. "Erica and I qualifying 1-2 is very, very exciting for this group and it also shows the level of effort that's been put in day-in and day-out to get us back to this position.
"The real test and the real trial is tomorrow, because that's when it's game time. Qualifying has been wonderful but we want to remain 1-2 through tomorrow's action and come out of here victorious. If one or the other of us wins this race, or (teammates) Alex Laughlin or Vincent Nobile get the win, it'll be a big party here at Elite Motorsports. Stay tuned."
The last time Coughlin was top qualifier in back-to-back races was 10 years ago in the spring of 2007 when he was No. 1 in Houston and Las Vegas. He has now been low qualifier 22 times.
When eliminations begin, Coughlin will face No. 8 qualifier Drew Skillman (6.612 at 209.52 mph), No. 16 qualifier John Gaydosh (6.761 at 204.51 mph) and teammate and No. 9 qualifier Nobile (6.617 at 209.14 mph). The top two cars will advance to the semifinals.
Pro Stock eliminations starting at 12:40 p.m., Sunday. Television coverage on FOX Sports 1 begins at 5:30 p.m., Sunday. (All times listed in EDT).