Although Sunday’s final-round loss to teammate Allen Johnson during the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway wasn’t exactly the result he was hoping for, Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. didn’t have any complaints about the performance of his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge team.
The final round wasn’t even on his radar Friday afternoon, as Coughlin was left outside the top 12.
“My weekend didn’t start out quite like we had planned on my car,” Coughlin said in a release published on the team’s official website. “But they were waving the wand on it Friday night and Saturday morning and got my car to come to life, which was great. We were second and third for the sessions on Saturday and they moved us up to No. 4, and we had a great race car. That’s all you can ask for.”
Coughlin was able to race all the way to the final round before a .004-second red light handed the win to J&J Racing teammate Johnson.
Coughlin, the No. 4 qualifier, started his sprint to the final by knocking off Deric Kramer with a 6.940-second pass at 198.44 mph. Kramer, meanwhile, finished with a pass of 7.008 seconds at 196.82 mph.
The win moved him into a second-round showdown with a tough customer in four-time champ Greg Anderson. Coughlin was more than ready for the challenge, though, using a .007-second reaction time to spark a 6.944-second pass at 198.44 mph. Anderson got off to a good start, too, but his .011-second reaction time ultimately resulted in a 6.971-second pass at 197.65 mph.
Anderson’s teammate, No. 1 qualifier Jason Line, was next on the list, and Coughlin continued his stretch of success with a .002 light, getting the holeshot semifinal victory with a pass of 6.931 seconds at 198.76 mph. Line was quicker at 6.924 at 198.64 mph, but Coughlin’s .015-second edge on the starting line was enough.
In the final. Coughlin tripped the Christmas Tree .004 seconds too soon.
“I drove really well and got aggressive later in the day,” Coughlin said. “I guess I get relaxed, and it’s more natural to me. I’m used to bracket racing a lot and I haven’t done any of that lately. That’s where you run a lot of rounds in one day and it kind of lets your body do its thing.
“Lately I think I’ve been on the edge of too aggressive and then couple that with getting more comfortable as the day goes on.”
That said, the final-round appearance solidified his third-place positioning in the Pro Stock points standings.
“I’m really happy where we started with these cars on Friday to where we ended up on the mountain, one-two,” Coughlin said. “It’s just what the doctor ordered. We are headed to the winner’s circle right now to celebrate.”
Teamjegs.com contributed to this report.