Jeg Coughlin out in Round 1 No. 1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin squandered a golden opportunity to score his first victory of the 2004 POWERade Drag Racing Series when he lost in the opening round of eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals to...
Jeg Coughlin out in Round 1
No. 1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin squandered a golden opportunity to score his first victory of the 2004 POWERade Drag Racing Series when he lost in the opening round of eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals to No. 16 qualifier Warren Johnson by a 6.836- to 7.292-second margin.
Coughlin's powerful Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier launched well ahead of Johnson's hot rod, with Coughlin posting a strong .031-second reaction time to Johnson's .061-second start. But soon thereafter, Coughlin was fighting hard just to maintain control of his 1,300-horsepower car as it swerved wildly in the left-hand lane.
"We were just a little too aggressive," Coughlin said. "We were fine down low [in first gear] but when I put it into second it just fried the tires. The car hopped right up and came over the top and that was all she wrote. I think I shifted straight into fourth gear trying to calm it down and I had my hands full there for a little while."
The problems cost Coughlin the race before he'd reached 660-feet and he could only watch as the sport's all-time wins leader in the Pro Stock class rolled away to a 6.836-second clocking at 203.12 mph against Coughlin's surrendering 7.292 at 162 mph.
"I looked over at half-track and he was well in front of me with all the momentum in the world," Coughlin said. "There just isn't enough room in these cars to make up for that so I just tossed in the towel. There was no point continuing a futile effort. It's very disappointing. We just missed the set-up by a little bit but it was enough to totally throw us off our game."
The usually reliable racing surface of the Texas Motorplex threw a lot of drivers for a loop Sunday morning. Half of the POWERade top 10 lost in the opening round, including points leader Greg Anderson, and only two of the top 10 survived Round 2.
"It was rewarding to qualify on the pole, especially with this Pro Stock class reaching what I consider its all-time pinnacle," Coughlin said. "It feels really good that our efforts in the engine department are paying off. But a first-round loss still feels bad no matter how you cut it. We wanted more today."