Coughlin boys roll sevens in Vegas; both men qualified in No. 7 slots
It was a steady, if not spectacular, opening day of drag racing for the Jeg's Mail Order race team as the NHRA tour arrived in Nevada for the fifth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin earned a top-half berth in the provisional field with a 6.847-second, 201.40-mph pass, which placed him seventh overall. Brother Troy Coughlin is in exactly the same spot in the Pro Mod field, running a best of 6.244 at 226.66 mph.
Meeting a goal he sets at every race, Jeg finds himself within two hundredths of a second of the class leader. With this race featuring four daytime qualifying sessions, he's hoping to close that gap during Saturday's final two rounds.
"We definitely are happy with the way today went," Jeg said. "Normally we have a Friday night session where everyone shoots for the moon but because of a World of Outlaws race next door tonight they gave us a night off. The end result is we'll have four sessions where the conditions are going to be very similar. As a racer, you can't ask for more, even though the fans probably like those nighttime runs.
"Both Richie [Stevens, teammate] and I are in the top half and we need to work hard to stay their so we can carry an advantage into Sunday. This track is very equal but if we can keep an edge, we need to do it."
Troy had the unusual situation of having to race in the Flowmaster Pro Mod Clash with no prior runs down the racetrack. All of the participants, assembled from the top eight qualifiers from the previous 12 months, had to hit the track with no data. Unfortunately, Troy's crew was a little overaggressive on the tune-up and he lost in the first round to top qualifier Josh Hernandez when his car lost traction.
In the second session of the day, Troy was able to post a 6.244 at 226.66 mph to move up to seventh on the race day elimination ladder.
"That was a tough deal having to run the Clash right out of the trailer," Troy said. "Basically, it came down to who made the best guess at what the track could hold and Josh's team did a good job of getting him down the track. My guys obviously got a quick read and we were able to come back and qualify very strong so we'll gear up for tomorrow and go after a first-round win in the regular race."