NORWALK, Ohio (June 30) — Ohio native and three-time NHRA champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. realized early Saturday that the hotter temperatures and increased corrected altitude wouldn’t lend itself to improving his posted elapsed time of 6.673 seconds at 206.67 mph from Friday night. Therefore, he and his Victor Cagnazzi Racing teammates spent the day working on optimizing his performance in the heat.

“We’re expecting pretty much the same conditions for tomorrow’s elimination so today turned into a perfect time for testing,” Coughlin said. “At this point in the year, we need to perfect a hot weather tune-up and since we race during the day, not at night like that one nighttime qualifying session we have each weekend, it’s really important to make your car consistent in the sunshine. That’s what we worked on today.”

Coughlin must be pleased. His Chevrolet Cobalt posted a 6.705 at 206.26 mph in Saturday’s early session. He then improved to a 6.691 at 206.54 mph in the final session, which took place mid-afternoon.

“The guys have really worked hard, as we’ve seen over the past several races,” said Coughlin, who lives near Columbus in Delaware, Ohio. “I’d stack this crew up against anyone. We’ll need to continue this trend tomorrow. The first round will be critical and I’d expect we’ll be the first pair out so we need to be ready.”

As the No. 9 qualifier, Coughlin will face No. 8 qualifier Kurt Johnson in the opening round of eliminations. Johnson posted an identical qualifying elapsed time of 6.673, but his slightly quicker top speed of 206.76 mph earns him lane choice over Coughlin. The two men have raced each other three times this year with Coughlin holding a 2-1 edge.

“We’ll get after it,” said Coughlin, who has raced to three finals in the last four races. “We have a huge support group of employees from JEGS Mail Order on hand and I want to show them a good time. The bets way to do that is take them to the winner’s circle.”

Eliminations are slated to begin at 11 a.m. EDT. Pro Stock should start around noon.

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