DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 13) — Friday the 13th was anything but unlucky for three-time NHRA champion Jeg Coughlin as he returned from an 11-month layoff in grand style, running the quickest and fastest pass of his career — a 6.618 at 208.49 mph. Coughlin’s impressive run in his brand-new Slammers Ultimate Milk/Jegs.com Chevrolet Cobalt placed him seventh in the quickest Pro Stock field of all time.

“I’ll admit, I was a little nervous before that first session,” Coughlin said. “But when I did the burnout and the car went nice and straight and I felt that power under my seat, it was like I never left. Then we didn’t go three feet and I went right back to feeling like, ‘Oh no, did I do something wrong?’ It turns out we were just a tad aggressive but the guys obviously made the proper adjustments for Q2.”

Racing under near-perfect conditions at Virginia Motorsports Park, Coughlin took a huge bite out of his previous career-best elapsed time of 6.685 seconds, while adding more than one mph to his top speed, which was 207.13 mph.

“That run was screaming,” Coughlin said. “What a ride! It was dead-solid perfect and I enjoyed it immensely. I’ll tell you, a 6.61 is a lot quicker than a 6.68, and it had been two years since I ran that number up in Chicago.

“When you have a sea-level track like this and it gets cool, you know you’re in for a ride. It was a mineshaft out there and I tip my hat to this Slammers Ultimate Milk team because they delivered.”

As for the reception he’s gotten in the pits after his 11-month sabbatical, Coughlin has been pleasantly pleased.

“The fans have been awesome,” Coughlin said. “They’re all telling me they missed us being out here and I tell them right back I missed them as well. The other drivers have been great also. We’re rivals on the track but we’re all family when it comes right down to it. It was heartwarming to hear from everyone and to see everyone again in the pits and the staging lanes.”

Coughlin will get two more chances to improve his numbers at noon and 2:30 p.m. Saturday when the inaugural Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals. Coughlin won the last NHRA event at this track in 2000.

For information on the Slammers Ultimate Milk or Bravo! Foods go to www.slammersracing.com.

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