TOPEKA, Kan. (May 25) — JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. jumped to fourth place in the Pro Stock points standings after reaching his second consecutive final round during the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
Coughlin fell in the Topeka final to J&J Racing teammate Allen Johnson, but after winning in Atlanta last weekend, he and his team are on a roll.
"We're going in the right direction," Coughlin said. "We've had some great momentum with the win in Atlanta, and getting to our second final of the year in consecutive weeks feels nice. We're going to one of my favorite tracks on the tour, Englishtown, this week.
"I like to forecast ahead, but that doesn't guarantee anything. We're going to have to bear down and continue to keep the car right up there up front, and I'm going to have to be aggressive behind the wheel."
Coughlin and his team had as complete a weekend as any this year, performing well in qualifying, getting the No. 4 qualifying spot, and then racing to the final round.
Coughlin started Sunday by taking out Rodger Brogdon in the first round with a pass of 6.653 seconds at 206.54 mph, beating Brogdon's slowing 6.753-second run at 195.08 mph. Coughlin was good on the Christmas Tree, too, with a .025-second reaction time.
In the second round, Coughlin had another good light, .022, and beat Dave Connolly with a run of 6.645 seconds at 206.23 mph to Connolly's 6.665-second pass at 207.78 mph.
That put Coughlin against No. 1 qualifier Vincent Nobile in the semifinals, but the race was over when Nobile went -.005 red. Coughlin, meanwhile, had another excellent light, .019, and made a solid pass of 6.677 seconds at 206.54 mph to reach the final.
"I was driving real well and the group did a nice job of adapting to the track," Coughlin said. "The track was getting hotter and slipperier and the air was getting worse, so they did a nice job adapting to it."
Coughlin and Johnson had nearly identical passes in the final — 6.664 at 207.18 mph for Coughlin and 6.663 at 207.18 mph for Johnson — but Johnson got to the finish line first.
"We were still a little bit aggressive there in the final run," Coughlin said. "We thought the track would be better than our run before when we were first pair without the drag, but we just barely missed it. I guess it wasn't meant to be."
Coughlin was aiming for another good light but was a tick off, giving Johnson a lead he wouldn't relinquish.
"Just lost it a little bit in the final," Coughlin said. "Not real sure why yet at this point. We were shooting to be somewhere between .011 and .016. We moved some stuff around and everything felt great. We just missed it."