BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 21) – Five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. knew everything would have to be perfect for he and his Magneti Marelli offered by Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Dart to advance to the second round of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals on Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway.
Things weren't quite perfect, and Coughlin fell to the higher-qualified Bo Butner.
Butner had a reaction time of .025 seconds and then made a pass of 6.625 seconds at 209.04 mph to squeak out the victory. Coughlin's numbers were a tick behind: 047 light and pass of 6.633 seconds at 208.10 mph. The margin of victory was .030 seconds.
"Personally, I felt like I should've been between .010 and .020 there in the first round. When I let the clutch out, I said, 'Man, that was not what I had in mind.' I was thinking I was about .040 and ended up being .047.
"Bo was on time and out-ran us a little bit to boot, so we needed to be on our best behavior to get by him. That's Pro Stock in this day and age."
Coughlin still made a pass quicker than his qualifying effort as his Elite Motorsports team continue to improve the Dodge Dart.
"The car was a little better than yesterday," Coughlin said. "We were trying to peck on a new scenario that we started to work on Saturday, and it looked a little bit better."
Before racing at the U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis in two weeks, Coughlin well test in Memphis, Tenn., trying to wring some more speed out of the Dart.
"We're going to do some testing this weekend in Memphis," Coughlin said. "I'm looking forward to getting some seat time there and getting comfortable as we're continuing to work on this program. We're going into our 18th race of the year, and we still haven't hit the stride that we're capable of. We've got good engines, we've got good cars, we've got good people. It's just a matter of getting it all rolling together.
"We'll go to Indy with our guns loaded and ready to race."