NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series
NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals
Gateway International Raceway
Madison, IL (St. Louis)
Jeg Coughlin – JEG’S Mail Order / Mopar – Dodge Stratus RT
Troy Coughlin – JEG’S Mail Order – ’67 Ford Mustang
Saturday Qualifying Summary
Three-time NHRA champion Jeg Coughlin showed his mettle Saturday at Gateway International Raceway, racing from the bottom half of the Pro Stock field to the top side of the elimination grid with a stout 6.785 at 202.79 mph in the fourth and final round of professional qualifying of the ninth annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals.
Coughlin started the weekend with an uncharacteristic aborted pass after breaking a rear end in his Jeg’s Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T. The loss of data put him behind the pack but his Bob Glidden-led crew didn’t panic, picking up their elapsed time in each of the final three time trails until ultimately finding a top-half spot.
“We’ve got a good place to start from and we’re excited,” Coughlin said. “The car made a nice run that last time out. We continue to sneak up on this thing. It did move towards the centerline and I had to drive it back into the groove, which probably cost us a little E.T. but we ended up on the good side of the 16-car field so we’re pumped, especially after you consider the start we had this weekend.”
A winner here in 2002, Coughlin will open Sunday’s eliminations against veteran racer Vieri Gaines, who earned the 10th spot in the field with a 6.797 at 203 mph. Gaines and Coughlin have not raced one another this season.
“V. has been running really well lately and we’ll have to be on our game to beat him,” Coughlin said. “I’ve said before that anyone in the top 16 can win the race and it’s true once again at this race. We start in the afternoon so reading the track and the conditions will play a big factor in how well you’ll run. It’ll be exciting.”
After qualifying on the quick side of the Pro Modified ladder, Troy Coughlin, the most recent winner on the AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge, was unceremoniously dumped in the opening round of eliminations Saturday night.
Coughlin earned the No. 7 spot on the ladder with a 6.280 at 226.70 mph. But when he lined up against 10th-place qualifier Zach Barklage in the first round of eliminations, Troy’s Jeg’s Mail Order Ford Mustang was just too revved up for a hot racetrack and he spun his tires early in his run. The miscue was too much to overcome as Barklage rolled to a 6.301-second, 224.92-mph upset win.
“After last week this is a big disappointment,” Troy said. “We just spun the tires. I had the RPM’s just a hair too high at the starting line and the car was just an animal.
“That’s a helluva team over there and Zach’s a great driver. When you race a team like that you have to dig deep and get after it. I knew he was capable of running quicker than what he showed in qualifying so we felt we needed to be aggressive.”
Additional resources can be found at: www.teamjegs.com
SUNDAY, June 26 — Sportsman eliminations begin at 11 a.m. Pre-race ceremonies, 3:30 p.m.
FINAL PROFESSIONAL ELIMINATIONS begin at 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 26, ESPN2 will air the weekly magazine style show NHRA2Day at 11:30 a.m. (ET).
Sunday, June 26, ESPN2 will televise three hours of elimination highlights beginning at 9 p.m. (ET).
Monday, June 27, 12:30 a.m.-1 a.m. (ET) – Galaxy 11 /Transponder 6K (11820 MHz, vertical)
Scott ‘Woody’ Woodruff
Director of Media & Motorsports
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NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series
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