NORWALK, Ohio (June 27) — Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s weekend in his home state of Ohio finished a tad sooner than the five-time world champion would have liked, but after qualifying No. 1 on the Pro Stock grid and taking the early lead in the new K&N Horsepower Challenge points, the Delaware, Ohio, resident was mostly pleased with his quarterfinal finish.

The only racer to post a 6.5-second run all weekend, a feat he accomplished in qualifying when he posted a 6.592 at 208.97 mph, Coughlin opened Sunday’s action against No. 16 pro Justin Humphreys. A late motor swap Saturday afternoon for the Chevrolet Cobalt team added some drama to the race, but when the lights flashed it was Coughlin coolly taking the victory with a 6.722 at 205.41 mph to Humphrey’s 6.745 at 204.51 mph.

“Something was corrupt in the ignition box and we found the problem last night so it turns out the motor wasn’t the problem,” Coughlin said. “It wasn’t much of an issue either way because the guys at Victor Cagnazzi Racing only give us top-notch horsepower. Still, it was good to feel the car accelerate when I dropped the clutch against Hump.”

Up next was Greg Anderson, a three-time NHRA champion who has mostly struggled this season. As is usually the case, Coughlin got a jump on his opponent, leaving with a .029-second reaction time to Anderson’s .049-second launch, but this time Anderson was able to track down Coughlin and win by a few feet. The final numbers had Anderson crossing in 6.713 at 204.85 mph to Coughlin’s 6.749 at 205.38 mph.

“We knew Greg had run pretty well in the first round (6.698) so we figured we needed to pick it up a touch,” said Coughlin, who turned 40 this week. “We over-adjusted by a hair and our two-hundredths of a second advantage at the starting line turned into a one-hundredth of a second loss at the top end.

“It was a big win for him and a bummer for us, but that’s drag racing.”

Coughlin remains third in the Full Throttle championship points.

The eliminations rounds of the NHRA Norwalk Nationals will be shown in primetime Sunday on ESPN2.

The NHRA tour takes a weekend off before heading to Seattle for the 23rd annual NHRA Northwest Nationals, July 9-11 at Pacific Raceways.


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