Team Chevy Leads Both Pro Stock, Funny Car Fields to Line for Eliminations at NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Coughlin No. 1 Qualifier in Pro Stock, Wilkerson Holds on to Top Spot in Funny Car BRISTOL, Tenn., July 7, 2007 - Team Chevy made some...
Team Chevy Leads Both Pro Stock, Funny Car Fields to Line for Eliminations at NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals
Coughlin No. 1 Qualifier in Pro Stock, Wilkerson Holds on to Top Spot in Funny Car
BRISTOL, Tenn., July 7, 2007 - Team Chevy made some noise here in Thunder Valley by claiming the top qualifying spot in both Pro Stock and Funny Car for tomorrow's eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Jeg Coughlin Jr. drove his Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt to a stout 6.765-second elapsed time at 204.05 mph in today's first qualifying session to claim his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 11th of his career. He edged the Summit Racing Pontiac GTO driven by points leader Greg Anderson who had a 6.782 e.t. at 204.35 mph. Tim Wilkerson in the Levi, Ray & Shoup Chevy Impala SS held on to his provisional pole from yesterday for his first No. 1 qualifier since Brainerd in 2004.
"We've been running extremely well," Coughlin said. "We've scored the most points out of the last eight races, and this weekend at Bristol we've got a strong car. Yesterday we came out and were just having problems within the engine, nothing catastrophic, just the engine wasn't happy and it wasn't pulling real hard for us getting down this quarter-mile. But the Jegs.com car was definitely tuned up this morning, and we came out swinging running that 6.76. That was quite a statement to lead the pack by over a hundredth and a half - that's a feat in today's Pro Stock world. To say we're excited is definitely an understatement.
"The track here at Bristol, being a new track, is coming in and getting better and better with every run. We were the quickest car in Q4, the very last session, so our momentum feels real good going into Sunday, but you can't count your chickens before they're hatched, so to speak. It's going to be a dog fight tomorrow. Any one of the 16 cars can win this race, but we're looking to take it coast to coast from No. 1 right into the winner's circle."
Points leader Greg Anderson qualified second, Coughlin's teammate Dave Connolly qualified his Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt third, and Anderson's teammate and provisional pole winner Jason Line dropped to fourth. Predictably, all four drivers also hold down the top four spots in the Pro Stock drivers points standings - Anderson 1st, Coughlin 2nd, Connolly 3rd, and Line 4th.
"There's certainly some sort of a rivalry, I would say, without question," Coughlin said. "We've all watched what Greg and Jason and the whole KB team have done the last four years - it's been phenomenal. So yea, we're trying to dethrone them. We're working as hard as we can and we're working as efficiently as we can to logically get our cars to the front. We're pecking away at it."
Single-team owner/driver Tim Wilkerson showed he can mix it up with the multi-car teams by driving his Chevy to an elapsed time of 4.819 seconds at 321.42 mph for his ninth career No. 1 qualifier. Cruz and Tony Pedregon also placed there Chevys in the top half of the field, Cruz driving his Advance Auto Parts Chevy Impala SS to the No. 3 qualifying spot and brother Tony qualifying eighth.
"I'm really happy for the crew," Wilkerson said. "There are no easy rounds out there. You see the field is separated by what, seven-and-a half hundredths or something like that. The 16th car is a bad draw still. When (points leader) Capps was on the bump I was really mad. That's my luck, qualify No. 1 and have to race that guy first round. But Del (Worsham) is sure not a pushover. It doesn't matter who you're racing today, it's going to be tough.
"I kind of half expected for somebody to step up today when the clouds covered up the way they did, and then Capps went out and ran a 4.86 that one round and I thought this is going to get ugly when the clouds come in, but it actually stayed hot enough. It's good to be No. 1 to get the points and get the money. We need the money, so that's a good thing, but we're looking tomorrow just to go down the racetrack."
-credit: gm racing