READING, Pa. (Aug. 17) — Less than 14 hours after making a middle-of-the-night run to the emergency room, Jeg Coughlin Jr. shook off the ill effects of a severe sinusitis to successfully qualify his Chevrolet Cobalt in the top half of the field at the 23rd annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals.

Resting in his trailer between rounds at a muggy Maple Grove Raceway, Coughlin started the day with a 6.718 at 205.29 mph before improving to 6.715 at 205.79 mph in the evening session to lock up the No. 7 position in the provisional field. He’ll have two more chances to improve after a full night’s rest during Saturday’s two scheduled rounds.

“It feels like my body is running on three flat tires,” Coughlin said. “I’m low on power. I guess that 50th national event win was hard on us. I’m just very run down and trying to rest as much as possible. This thing just needs to run its course. You can’t take too much medication because you have to be alert in the car so I guess we’re suffering a little more than necessary. It has to be done.”

Coughlin, 37, did manage to get up when he needed to, making two flawless passes down the quarter-mile.

“The car was very consistent today, looking at our numbers, but I’m happy to be done working for the day to be perfectly honest,” Coughlin said. “We were testing some new parts today and I don’t think we’re too displeased with how they stacked up against the rest of the field.

“Looks like Mother Nature could come in and make things a little cooler for tomorrow. If that’s the case I think we’ll see improvements across the board and hopefully we’re able to step it up as well. Both sessions should be great.

“Hopefully, I’ll be feeling better also.”

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