POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 11) — Five-time world champion drag racer Jeg Coughlin Jr. had a great beginning to the 2010 season after cruising down legendary Auto Club Raceway in Pomona Thursday afternoon in 6.591 seconds at 209.59 mph, good enough for second place on the Day 1 grid of the 50th annual NHRA Winternationals.

“This was a real nice start,” said Coughlin, who will have three more chances to improve his qualifying position before the ladder is set for Sunday’s eliminations. “We certainly have an opportunity to clean up that run a little and go even quicker, and that’s the plan, but it’s hard to complain about much when you get off the line like that.

“We had a problem with the car accelerating straight towards the end of 2009 and we’ve worked very hard on fixing that issue. That was definitely the biggest thorn in our side during the playoffs, but we feel like we’ve gained a lot of ground since then. It was just about perfect that time, so we’re very encouraged.”

Coughlin actually made three passes Thursday, one in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt Pro Stocker and two more in his JEGS.com Dodge Challenger Stock Eliminator car. Coughlin’s fiancĂ© Samantha Kenny also made a pair of runs in her JEGS.com Super Comp dragster.

“All of the cars are running well,” Coughlin reported. “I’m fourth in Stock and Samantha has looked very competitive in her two time trials so we’re happy.

“We’ve all been snowed in back home in Ohio so we’re happy to see this California sunshine. The weather was about perfect for drag racing today and it should be nice all weekend, although it will get incrementally warmer as the race progresses.

“The NHRA has given us a great racetrack out there and we hope to get better. All we need to do is gain one more spot, right?”

The schedule calls for a second qualifying session at 3 p.m. Friday and two more at noon and 3 p.m. Saturday.

Coughlin is a six-time winner at Pomona. He won twice here in 1999, and logged additional victories in 2000, 2001, 2005, and 2007.”


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