Phoenix: Jeg Coughlin Friday summary

Steady opening day for Coughlin Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin had what he termed "a steady day at the racetrack" Friday as qualifying for the 21st annual Checker, Schuck's, Kragen NHRA Nationals began under cloudless skies at ...

Steady opening day for Coughlin

Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin had what he termed "a steady day at the racetrack" Friday as qualifying for the 21st annual Checker, Schuck's, Kragen NHRA Nationals began under cloudless skies at Firebird International Raceway. Coughlin opened with a 6.833-second pass at 202.70 mph and improved to a 6.776 at 204.01 mph in the cooler evening session to finish opening day as the No. 11 qualifier.

"Both runs were nice and straight and we're getting closer and closer on our clutch set-up so we're very excited about our day," Coughlin said. "The first run tomorrow is at noon so the conditions should still be very good. We're planning on moving up the ladder because this is definitely a top-four car."

Coughlin, a 34-year-old from Delaware, Ohio, was elated with the numbers run by his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Richie Stevens, who ended the day as the No. 1 qualifier in his identically-prepared Team Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T. Stevens track-record run of 6.735 seconds at 205.35 mph gives Coughlin a clear-cut number to shoot for in his Jeg's Mail Order Stratus.

"Richie took both of our cars to Tucson earlier this week for some extensive testing," said Coughlin, the 2000 Phoenix champion. "They sorted some things out with the clutch and he showed us today what these cars are capable of running. I personally wasn't surprised at all to see him on top. We should be right there with him.

"I know what it takes to have a car that runs for the championship because I've been there two times before, and a couple other times when we were very close. I see all the same things with this team. It's just a matter of time."

The final two qualifying sessions are scheduled for noon and 3 p.m. Saturday.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Don Schumacher