St. Louis: Jeg Coughlin Jr Saturday notes

Coughlin captures another top-half starting berth ST. LOUIS (May 2) -- Four-time and defending Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. kept an impressive streak alive by qualifying in the top half of the elimination field at this weekend's...

Coughlin captures another top-half starting berth

ST. LOUIS (May 2) -- Four-time and defending Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. kept an impressive streak alive by qualifying in the top half of the elimination field at this weekend's 13th annual O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals. Coughlin used a 6.609 at 209.56 mph Saturday afternoon in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt to secure his seventh top-half slot in seven races this season.

"We're pretty happy with everything," said Coughlin, the current points leader with two wins and two runner-up finishes this year. "We were actually thinking we'd post a 6.58 or so but we came up a little bit short. The car drove to the left and got out of the groove and started spinning its tires. I grabbed second gear and it spun up again so I really muscled it back over into the groove and it was fine after that. That's what cost us."

Due to rain showers throughout Friday's schedule, qualifying for the event was limited to Saturday's two sessions. In the end, Coughlin assumed the eighth spot on the grid. He'll face No. 9 qualifier Johnny Gray in Sunday's opening round. Coughlin is 2-0 lifetime versus Gray.

"It would have been great to have had all four qualifying runs but we all had to deal with the same situation," Coughlin said. "I guess if I nitpicked I'd say we need to continue trying to get better at going straight down the racetrack.

"I think we'll have something for them tomorrow. We tried some new parts out today and we have some things lined up for tomorrow. If we get cloud cover again like we had today we should be able to step it up considerably."

Coughlin has collected three of his 56 career victories at Gateway International Raceway, including two Super Stock titles in 1997 and '03, and the Pro Stock crown in 2002. He also scored runner-up finishes here in '98 and '07, both in Pro Stock.

"The season has started so well for us and it's great to be leading the points," Coughlin said. "But we know from experience we can't let up at all. We have to stay after it every round of every race."

Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. with the first round of Pro Stock slated for noon. As the eight and ninth qualifiers, Coughlin and Gray will likely be the first pair on the racetrack.

-credit: team jegs

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin