ATLANTA (April 26) — Reigning Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. will open Sunday’s elimination action at Atlanta Dragway against local hero and six-time world champion Warren Johnson. A four-time champion in his own right, Coughlin will enjoy lane choice over his rival when sudden-death racing begins at noon.

“We’ve got to be on top of our game right from the start,” said Coughlin, a winner here in 2000. “Warren’s probably made more runs down Atlanta Dragway than anyone in Pro Stock but we’ve made a few ourselves at this track so we’ll be up for the challenge, and it will be a challenge with Warren in the other lane.”

Coughlin’s run of record was his Friday night pass of 6.668 at 206.67 mph, slightly quicker than Johnson’s best clocking of 6.673 at 207.98 mph. Therefore, Coughlin will have the ability to choose which lane he races his Chevrolet Cobalt down.

“The right side is definitely the favored lane once again this year,” Coughlin said. “It seems strange to say that because for many years the left lane was better but after they resurfaced this place a few years back it shifted a bit, at least for the Pro Stock cars. It’s just a little bit smoother in the first few hundred feet, which is so critical for us.

“I’d imagine that since were the number 8-9 qualifiers we’ll be first pair out so we need to make sure we’re up for the race. I’m already looking forward to it very much.”

Just as it was two weeks ago in Las Vegas, the elapsed times posted in Saturday’s two qualifying sessions were tempered by hotter temperatures. However, Coughlin managed to improve his elapsed times in relation to the field with the second quickest run of the day.

“We were very excited to be second best in the heat,” he said. “We had made some changes to the car overnight to get it back to where we had it during the first few races of the year and it responded well. It was too hot for anyone to improve so when that happens you always look at how you run in relation to everyone else and we were right across the top of the sheet.

“We’re expecting pretty much the same conditions tomorrow so we should have a great chance at winning the race.”

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