HOUSTON (April 21) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. may have raced to six world titles but he's never really been known for collecting a lot of top qualifier honors through the years. That trend could be changing after Coughlin rocketed to the top of Pro Stock Friday at the 30th annual NHRA Spring Nationals with a stout 6.557-second pass at 210.70 mph.
"It's a testament to the attitude and efforts of this Elite Motorsports race team," Coughlin said as he climbed from the cockpit of his JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro. "It felt great from behind the wheel. Both runs today were pretty clean but that second one, I let the clutch out and the car just kind of rocked back and lifted the front end right away. It was crisp and clean through the gears; just a perfect run.
"I definitely think we got the most out of that pass. To ultimately be rewarded with the No. 1 qualifier position, even for a day, feels great."
Coughlin has known for all season that his 2017 Rick Jones-built Camaro has the potential to lead the class. After his run of record and his earlier 6.602 at 210.47 mph, he's further convinced his group is onto something big.
"It's nice to be No. 1 heading into Day 2 here in Houston," Coughlin said. "We're up top for a day but we know anything can happen tomorrow. We certainly have learned in our 20 years in Pro Stock that you never count your chickens before they hatch.
"If we do stay No. 1 I will feel quite honored because I know we earned that spot. Stay tuned…there's is lots more excitement coming this weekend and this year."
In 385 starts in Pro Stock, Coughlin has been the No. 1 qualifier 20 times, including twice in Houston (2007 and 2013).
Two more qualifying sessions are scheduled for 1:30 and 4 p.m., Saturday, with eliminations starting at noon, Sunday. Television coverage on FOX Sports 1 begins with a live qualifying show Friday evening, followed by elimination action at 4:30 p.m., Sunday. (All times listed in CDT).