Baytown: GM Racing Saturday summary

Coughlin Holds On To Pro Stock Pole After Rain Washes Out Qualifying Cruz Pedregon Also Claims 33rd Career No. 1 Qualifier in Funny Car BAYTOWN, Texas, March 31, 2007 - Rain may have shortened qualifying activities for tomorrow's eliminations at...

Coughlin Holds On To Pro Stock Pole After Rain Washes Out Qualifying
Cruz Pedregon Also Claims 33rd Career No. 1 Qualifier in Funny Car

BAYTOWN, Texas, March 31, 2007 - Rain may have shortened qualifying activities for tomorrow's eliminations at the 20th annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, but it certainly didn't dampen the spirit of Jeg Coughlin and his Victor Cagnazzi Racing team. Coughlin held on to the top spot in Pro Stock to claim his first No. 1 qualifier since Dallas 2004 and the 9th of his career after rain cancelled today's scheduled two rounds of qualifying. The two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion drove his Slammers Ultimate Milk/Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt to a track-record elapsed time of 6.649 seconds at 208.17 mph in yesterday's first session and held on to end a 15-race stretch of NHRA races with a Pontiac as a No. 1 qualifier. Greg Anderson in the Summit Racing Pontiac GTO qualified second with an elapsed time of 6.665 at 208.36 mph.

"This is definitely very exciting," Coughlin said. "We were looking forward to working on our setup and defending our No. 1 position Saturday, but Mother Nature didn't allow it. But we are going into race day with a real consistent car. We were also happy to win the Full Throttle Award (part of season-long pit crew championship) for the weekend. I have a lot of confidence in the car and our whole team is ready to go. The weather Sunday is supposed to be like it was during qualifying, so we'll peck away and improve our qualifying tune-up, trying to get our first win of the 2007 season."

Coughlin looks to repeat his trip to the winner's circle here at Houston Raceway Park in 2000, and the Ohio native also had back-to-back wins in the fall event here in 1997-98. Chevy drivers looking to challenge him include his teammate Dave Connolly who qualified 10th, Tom Hammonds in 12th, Kurt Johnson in the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt in 13th, and Kenny Koretsky, who celebrated a birthday yesterday, rounding out the field of 16 in the 16th position.

Teammates Greg Anderson and Jason Line have their Pontiacs qualified second and fourth, respectively, followed by the Houston career leader in Pro Stock wins, Warren Johnson, who qualified his GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO fifth. Other Pontiac qualifiers include Greg Stanfield (8th), Mike Edwards (9th), and Jim Yates (11th).

"The field is set as is," Anderson said, "so it's over and now it's time to go and get your setup ready for race day. We're a little bit uncomfortable because we didn't make a real clean run on the last run. We didn't get out of low gear cleanly and the car bogged real badly, so we've got to fix that. You'd like to have one more run to make sure you have that fixed before you go into race day, but that's just a comfort factor. I know we can do it, so we're just going to have to block it out of our minds and stop worrying about it. I know the car will be right. Rob (crew chief Downing) and the guys will get the car right tomorrow. It should be fast. I just need to block it out, go up there and do my job. I just need to think in my mind I'm going to have a great car and hopefully do a good job.

"It's okay. We're in the show and we're qualified on opposite sides of the ladder. We'd like to be Nos. 1 and 2, but we're 2 and 4, and that's the opposite side so it really serves the same purpose. You're going to have different conditions tomorrow. We're going to have sun for the first time all weekend, so you're going to have to change everything anyway. So I guess it really didn't matter if we didn't get to run tonight. You could've gone out tonight and run in the humidity and the clouds, and then come out tomorrow in the sun and have to change everything anyway, so it probably really doesn't matter anyway."

In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon's provisional No. 1 qualifier from yesterday held up after today's rainout for the 33rd No. 1 qualifier of his career and his first since Chicago 2 in 2005. He drove his Advance Auto Parts Chevy Monte Carlo to an elapsed time of 4.796 seconds at 300.20 mph to edge his teammate and brother, Tony, by a scant .002 seconds. Tony Pedregon drove his Q Racing Chevy Monte Carlo to a 4.798 e.t. at 291.26 mph for second on the Funny Car grid.

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Cruz Pedregon , Greg Stanfield , Tom Hammonds , Jason Line , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards