INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The three-time NHRA world champion Jeg Coughlin made headlines on Friday at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals when he announced his return to the Pro Stock class. Coughlin also attracted attention on-the track at O’Reilly Raceway Park as he qualified Richard Freeman’s Chevy Cobalt in the Competition Eliminator field and posted a semifinal finish in the Mopar Super Stock Hemi Challenge race.

“I definitely didn’t have too much time to relax today but sometimes that’s the best way to race,” said Coughlin. “All in all, it was a very exciting day for me.”

Making his return to the Competition Eliminator class after nearly a decade, Coughlin qualified No. 32 in the 64-car field with a run of 8.90-seconds in Freeman’s Super Modified Chevrolet.

Later, Coughlin hopped behind the wheel of Michael Ogburn’s West Coast Hemis Barracuda and turned in a semifinal finish, losing a close race against eventual winner Charlie Westcott. Coughlin made his best run of the race with an 8.75, but it wasn’t enough to stop Westcott, who posted an 8.64-second elapsed time.

“We gave it our best shot, but I just didn’t have enough to get by Charlie,” said Coughlin, who won the Hemi Challenge race at Indy in 2004 and was runner-up last year. “I really enjoy racing with the West Coast Hemis team because they are a hard-working, fun-loving group. I would really have liked to win this race for them, but we just came up a little short this time.

“As for the Comp car, I’m still getting used to it, but I’m starting to feel comfortable. We are definitely capable of running quicker than we have been so I’m really optimistic about our chances.”

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