ST. LOUIS (Sept. 27) – Jeg Coughlin Jr. and the JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge team weren't satisfied with a top-half performance Friday on the first day of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.
So the team gambled on major changes to Coughlin's Dodge Dart, and it paid off with a No. 2 qualifying spot Saturday.
"We came in yesterday and ran a pair of .55s," Coughlin said. "It's not that we were disappointed with it, but the car just wasn't happy. (Crew chiefs) Mark Ingersoll and Adam Hornberger went to the drawing board and went to a setup that we've run toward but never quite as far as we went today."
Changes were made to the clutch, suspension, weight balance and other aspects of the car, and Coughlin went even quicker, making a pass of 6.522 seconds at 212.53 mph to claim the No. 2 spot.
"It was a really big gamble," Coughlin said. "We talked about doing it yesterday before Q1 and we ended up not going in that direction until today. It limits you to two runs to get it right, but we came out this morning and ran really well with that .53 and backed that up with a cleaner .52."
That's Coughlin's best qualifying effort since Bristol, 11 races ago. And it has Coughlin excited for Sunday's eliminations, where he'll start off against No. 15 qualifier Deric Kramer. Kramer's best run of the weekend was 6.589 seconds at 210.41 mph.
"We've got a good car going into gameday," Coughlin said. "That's exciting. I feel great behind the wheel, and I have all the confidence in both these (J&J Racng) teams that we can go the distance tomorrow. We'll go one round at a time and see how we fare."
Coughlin earned four qualifying bonus points this weekend and is eighth in the Pro Stock points standings after two of the six Countdown to the Championship races.