Ohioan Jeg Coughlin Sr., founder of Jeg’s Automotive, had the rare opportunity to warm-up a 7,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster Friday prior to the opening round of professional qualifying at the 42nd annual Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals at National Trail Raceway. A former Top Fuel driver himself, Coughlin was invited by Carrier Boyz Racing pilot Coy McClenathan to warm-up the team’s Fram Boost2 dragster, which is carrying Jeg’s Mail Order livery this weekend.

“That was as bad as taking an alcoholic to a bar,” said a smiling Coughlin, who last made a pass in a Top Fuel car in 1981. “What a thrill. I told (crew chief) Wes Cerny I wanted to make a pass and he said, ‘Let’s do it.’ The problem is I’d hit the throttle for the burnout and I’d have to get out of the car. My legs would be noodles.

“You can really feel the power, even when the car is up on jack stands. We were running 5.70s and 250 mph back when I was racing. I couldn’t imagine the sensation of going 4.5 seconds at 330 mph. That would be something.”

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