BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 16) – Recent changes are already paying dividends for NHRA Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. and his JEGS/Mopar Dodge Avenger team.
After failing to qualifying at Englishtown in the last event on the schedule, Coughlin added a co-crew chief to his team’s mix and is now back in the field for Sunday’s eliminations at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Coughlin made four solid runs, with his quickest pass – a run of 6.693 seconds at 206.16 mph – coming on Friday night.
“It definitely feels good,” said Coughlin, who won at Bristol in 2007. “We got a little bit of a momentum swing change for us. We brought on Eddie Guarnaccia and he is heading up the crew chief side of things with the rest of the guys. He has had 15 runs now, including the four we made here, trying to get this thing under wraps.
“We still have a lot to learn, not only together but we have some work to do on our Hemi power plants and also the efficiency of the car. It definitely feels good to obviously be in the show. Still trying to get some momentum going and see if we can turn some win lights on tomorrow. That is most important.”
Now that Coughlin, who qualified 10th, and the JEGS team are set for Sunday’s eliminations, where they will face No. 7 qualifier Greg Anderson in the first round, they can get to work on making his Dodge better.
And, as he will tell you, it starts with the driver.
“We are going to have to be consistent, and I am going to have to do my job behind the wheel,” Coughlin said. “That is the fun part – racing on Sunday. I am looking forward to it.”
And that means working through the little opportunities with co-crew chiefs Guarnaccia and Tomi Laine, and Coughlin is confident they can get that done.
“We are just trying to milk out the inefficiencies right now,” Coughlin said. “There are a couple of hundredths left in it without question, safely. But it is great to talk about, but even better to show everyone.”
He will definitely get that chance on Sunday, despite having very little time to gel with his new crew chief – less than a dozen test runs during the off week between Englishtown and Bristol.
“The 11 (runs) we made here last week in testing seemed to go really well,” Coughlin said. “And, when we came back here for the race we made some headway. It isn’t stellar, but it gave us a chance to get in on race day. Hopefully we can improve on it tomorrow and move on to Chicago.”
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