CHARLOTTE (Sept. 15) – Jeg Coughlin Jr. and the JEGS/Mopar Dodge Avenger will have the opportunity to make friends and influence the Pro Stock point standings with a first round win on Sunday at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway.

Coughlin qualified No. 13 for the race and faces No. 4 seed and fellow Mopar driver Allen Johnson. With Charlotte being the first race of the Countdown, the points have been tightened up with Johnson at the head of the pack.

If Coughlin can knock Johnson out early, the field could bunch up even more.

"When you look at the scenario, he's No. 1 in the points and we're 10," Coughlin said. "If you can crack somebody with that kind of script that would be ideal."

Coughlin started the weekend 110 points behind Johnson.

The JEGS Avenger unloaded off the truck and ran a 6.616-second lap at 209.60 mph, which was eighth best of the session.

He was able to improve his final number to a 6.607 at 209.88 mph, but it was only 13th quickest, which will be where Coughlin starts when Pro Stock eliminations begin on Sunday. Johnson qualified with a best pass of 6.563 seconds at 211.23 mph.

"We got off to a decent start in Q1, but weren't able to improve enough from there," Coughlin said. "We fought track conditions a little bit from Q2 onward. The track was ripping up really hard a little in Q2 and a lot all day Saturday. We just underestimated that for Q4.

"It's all about getting these cars to move efficiently in the first 30-40 feet. That's not been an uncommon struggle for us, but I'm confident we'll find a good setup for tomorrow."

Coughlin said the team will circle back around to his first round pass and build eliminations strategy from there.

"We've got a good plan put together for eliminations," Coughlin said. "We're in a tough spot, but we're in the lucky No. 13, that usually bodes well for us. We'll key off of that mojo and see what we can get done tomorrow."

Coughlin is the only driver in the class to win from all 16 starting positions.

Eliminations for the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals get under way at noon EDT on Sunday.



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