Gainesville: GM Racing Friday summary

Coughlin Sets Gainesville Track Record En Route to Provisional Pro Stock Pole Team Chevy Makes it a Double With Cruz Pedregon No. 1 in Funny Car GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 16, 2007 - Two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. took most of...

Coughlin Sets Gainesville Track Record En Route to Provisional Pro Stock Pole
Team Chevy Makes it a Double With Cruz Pedregon No. 1 in Funny Car

GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 16, 2007 - Two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. took most of the 2006 race season off after winning the season-ending race at Pomona in 2005, but the Ohio native has returned with a vengeance in 2007. Set to run the full season for Cagnazzi Racing behind the wheel of the Slammers Ultimate Milk/Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt, Coughlin set a new Gainesville Raceway Pro Stock elapsed-time record today after the completion of first-day qualifying for the 38th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals. Coughlin claimed the provisional No. 1 qualifier on the strength of his track-record elapsed time of 6.632 seconds at a speed of 207.75 mph.

"I let the clutch out, the car took off, went a couple of feet and just started accelerating like mad," said Coughlin. "I'm like, 'Just get through the gears and let's go!' When they told me on the radio what I ran, I had to have them repeat it. I figured if we really ran a great run, we might hit a high .64 or a low .65, and then we ran a .63, almost busting down to a .62 which was awesome. A 6.63 is pretty stout in the Florida heat today. The weatherman's calling for a little cool down, possibly, tomorrow and even more so on Sunday, so we're going to have to be on our best behavior if we want to maintain our No. 1 status. But I tell you what, it feels outstanding. We've got Roy Warren, our CEO of Bravo Brands and Slammers Ultimate Milk here this weekend, and Stan Harris, the chief marketing officer, and a lot of great friends from Bravo Brands and Slammers Ultimate Milk. To perform well is great, but to perform well in front of them is even that much more rewarding for us as a team.

"The weekend's not over, but we're very, very optimistic. We're not greedy, but looking at the runs back at the trailer, we've got little improvements and efficiencies we can just barely peck out of this thing. These cars are all about harmony. When they're comfortable and they're happy, they fly."

Coughlin followed up his Gatornationals win in 2001 with three consecutive runner-up finishes (2002-2004), so he obviously has an affinity for the Gainesville quarter-mile.

"There are certain tracks that you come to and you just love 'em," said Coughlin, "and this is one of them. I enjoy coming here and the fans come from all over the country which makes it fun."

In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon made it two for two for Team Chevy by powering his Advance Auto Parts Chevy Monte Carlo to the provisional No. 1 qualifier with an elapsed time of 4.792 seconds at 295.21 mph to edge the Ford of Robert Hight by one-thousandth of a second. Pedregon's teammate and brother, Tony, set a national Funny Car elapsed-time record en route to the event win at the series' most recent race at Phoenix.

"It's not every day that you have a car that just sets a national record and won the race with every piece of information at your fingertips," said Pedregon. "Wayne (crew chief Dupuy) and I talked and said, 'Do you know how much money it would cost to go gather the information from the guy who just won a race and set a national record?' We utilized our teammate's information, but make no mistake about it, Wayne has his ideas too. It's kind of a combination of the two cars, but no question having Tony's help with Dickie (crew chief Venables) benefited us. The relationship that Dickie and Wayne are developing is awesome, and it's showing here. It's all part of the team effort."

Qualifying for Sunday's eliminations continues tomorrow with third- and fourth-round sessions at 12:00 noon and 2:30 p.m. Eastern, respectively.

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Cruz Pedregon , Robert Hight