NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series
O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Q Power
Bristol Dragway
Bristol, TN
May 1st

JEG’S Mail Order
Jeg Coughlin Jr – Pro Stock
Troy Coughlin – ProMod
Race Day Summary

Jeg Coughlin’s first Bristol win (NHRA national event) will have to wait for another day as the three-time series champion lost in the opening round of the rain-altered fifth annual O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. Coughlin has scored a national event win at 19 of the 20 current sites on the NHRA tour, with the lone exception being Bristol Dragway.

Despite qualifying a lofty fourth on the elimination ladder, Coughlin’s Jeg’s Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T lost to the lower-ranked car of Jim Yates. The former series champ screamed off the starting line with a near-perfect .001-second reaction time against Coughlin’s better-than-average .028-second start and drove away to win with a 6.763 at 203.43 mph to Coughlin’s 6.778 at 204.42 mph.

“We had a great racecar but with only one round of qualifying due to all the rain cancellations we were all guessing a little bit in Round 1,” Coughlin said. “I guess they guessed a little better than we did. We were certainly softer than we should have been. Plus, Jim had a great light so it would’ve taken a huge run to beat him.”

Coughlin was very optimistic about the performance of teammate Richie Stevens, who drove his brand-new Dodge past reigning champ Greg Anderson and current points leader Dave Connolly on the day. Unlike the older Stratus Stevens was driving, this car is identical to Coughlin’s ride.

“Now we can really start to take advantage of sharing information,” Coughlin said. “We’ll be ready for Atlanta and we’ll have a car that can win the race. We had a car capable of winning today but we just got beat.”

Troy Coughlin’s day started in high gear as he used the quickest Pro Mod pass of the weekend in the opening round of eliminations to power past Josh Hernandez with a 6.206 at 225.90 mph. Hernandez had gotten an early jump on Troy but the Jeg’s Mail Order Ford Mustang had reeled him in by half-track. Hernandez’s 6.355 at 224.14 mph was well behind Troy’s mark.

The high Troy was on didn’t last long, however, as he came back down to earth before Round 2 even began. Sitting in the waterbox, Coughlin’s car started but was obviously suffering from some sort of mechanical malady. As his Gotham City team scrambled to find the problem, Troy simply ran out of time and was shut off by starter Rick Stewart.

“That was frustrating because after running so strong in Round 1 and seeing what Mike [Ashley, teammate] was doing we knew we had a tune-up,” Troy said. “I’m not sure what happened. It will take tearing the car down to figure it all out. It was great to go rounds but we would have liked to have raced to our potential today.”

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