POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 8) — Following a familiar pattern repeated throughout Friday’s qualifying action at the NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, reigning NHRA champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. couldn’t improve on his opening pass of 6.651 seconds at 207.98 mph and remained in third place.

Slightly hotter weather conditions kept the entire qualified field intact. Only one of the top 12 racers managed to run quicker than he had Thursday and that was only a fractional difference.

“I think we all went up there and tried to apply a little too much horsepower,” Coughlin said. “It was slightly hotter and the starting line just didn’t want anything to do with it. So we all ended up spinning our tires pretty severely. We did have a great 60-foot time but it was over after that.

“This is why we have four qualifying sessions. You need these runs to get a feel for what you can and cannot do out there and now we know what the limit is for this track. We’ll be fine tomorrow and that first run at noon will be a real good indicator of what we’ll most likely see in Round 1 on Sunday so we need to be ready to go.”

Coughlin is a four-time world champion with 51 national event wins. He is one of only seven professional level racers and one of only 12 ever to win 50 or more drag races.

In 2007, Coughlin closed out the season at Pomona with a win that helped him clinch his third POWERade Pro Stock title. Coughlin also won the Super Gas championship in 1992.

Saturday’s two qualifying sessions are scheduled for noon and 3 p.m.

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