COMMERCE, Ga. (May 6) – Six feet is all that stood between Dodge Avenger driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. and a spot in the Pro Stock quarterfinals Sunday in the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

In the closest race of the round, the four-time Pro Stock champion was just a hair slower in the second half of his quarter-mile run to end up on the wrong side of his battle with No. 2 qualifier Alan Johnson.

Coughlin, a two-time Atlanta winner, posted a pass of 6.653 seconds at 208.52 mph to a 6.594 at 209.98 mph for Johnson.

“We definitely knew we needed to step it up overnight to have a chance against him,” Coughlin said. “He’s been at least .06 of a second quicker than us all weekend long. We’re optimistic we could get our car to step up a little bit, and we did. But he got some more out of his as well.

“I really felt confident I could be between .008 and .014 on the Tree. If I’d have done that, we may have pulled off the win.”

Coughlin was quick off the start, pulling a .032 to Johnson’s .073-second launch. That gave him the lead through half track, before Johnson took over, beating Coughlin to the finish line by .0187 – just two yards – with the quickest Pro Stock pass of the weekend.

“We’ve got a little bit of momentum going here,” Coughlin said. “Still not as much as we’d like but it’s growing. The car was showing some pretty good speeds and travel speeds were decent, but we’re still struggling at getting the car to accelerate real well off the line. To run 210 mph, we need some more horsepower, too.”

The crew will have a chance to get it going again in two weeks, when the NHRA rolls into Topeka, Kan., for the Dollar General NHRA Summernationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

“It’s Pro Stock at its finest right now, and we’re right in the middle of the rat race,” Coughlin said. “We’ve got to get our p’s and q’s lined up here. The season is dwindling away on us, and we want to get this car solidly in the top 10 for a good Countdown effort this fall.”


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