SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 2) — JEGS.com driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. picked up right where he left off in his 2015 debut in Pro Stock, racing to the semifinals of the NHRA Sonoma Nationals on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.
Coughlin, driving a Chevrolet Camaro for Stockseth Racing and Elite Motorsports, scored a holeshot victory in the second round but came up short against No. 1 qualifier Chris McGaha in the semifinals despite another stellar reaction time.
"I was pretty happy with it," Coughlin said of his driving Sunday. "I had a little attention-getter first round. Some days you don't get away with those but today we did. I knew to get up on the wheel and do what I love to do. I came back with a respectable .007 and .010, but obviously we weren't able to close the door.
"I've got a lot of faith in this team. They've been a lot of fun to work with through the seven runs that we've made, and I look forward to Seattle already."
Coughlin qualified No. 4 and raced Matt Hartford in the first round. Neither driver was sharp on the Christmas Tree, and Coughlin won with a .065-second reaction time and a pass of 6.529 seconds at 211.36 mph.
In the second round against No. 5 qualifier Vincent Nobile, Coughlin was stellar on the Tree with a .007 light, beating Nobile off the line by .017-second. That quick lead and 6.537-second pass at 211.03 mph were enough to hold off Nobile's 6.534 at 211.83 mph.
Then came his match with McGaha.
"We changed manifolds before that run because it looked like we were a hundredth off in the back half from where we thought we were capable of being," Coughlin said. "If we pick up a hundredth in the back, that's pretty stout."
The five-time Pro Stock champion had a .010 light, but McGaha was slightly better at .004. McGaha then made a quicker pass, 6.531 at 212.29 mph to 6.551 at 211.20 mph, to get the round-win.
"Chris qualified on the pole, and if he hasn't been low every run, he's been damn close," Coughlin said. "We knew we had to be on our best behavior. We just came up a little short there. Chris made a stab at the Tree and ran good e.t. to boot. Onward to Seattle we go."