Great driving doesn't yield a win for Coughlin A fantastic display of driving by two-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin wasn't enough for the former Denver winner to score his third victory at the annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at ...
Great driving doesn't yield a win for Coughlin
A fantastic display of driving by two-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin wasn't enough for the former Denver winner to score his third victory at the annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway as title contender Kurt Johnson caught and passed Coughlin to win their quarterfinal tilt by one-hundredth of a second.
Starting the day as the No. 12 qualifier, Coughlin scored an upset win in the opening round when he took out teammate Richie Stevens, who had qualified fifth overall. Coughlin left the starting line first with a great .010-second reaction time to Stevens' competitive .032-second launch. He also reached the finish line first, out-running his Don Schumacher Racing pit mate with a 7.196-second pass at 192.22 mph in his Jeg's Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T to Stevens' 7.197 at 192.44 mph.
"You had two pretty evenly matched cars going at it," Coughlin said. "Obviously the team worked well on both sides because we ran within one-thousandths of a second of each other as far as elapsed time goes. I just got the jump at the light and was able to hold him off. It was a very exciting race, especially for the Mopar folks."
It was a similar start for Coughlin in the second round as he blasted off the starting line with a .009-second light compared to Johnson's .035-second reaction time. But this time his opponent had enough horsepower to catch and pass the '98 and '99 Denver winner somewhere between the half-track mark and the 1,000-foot timer to steal away the win. The numbers on the scoreboard showed Johnson winning with a 7.168 at 192.77 mph to Coughlin's 7.207 at 192.06 mph.
"That was another close one," Coughlin said. "I got a good jump but couldn't keep him behind me. We saw a lot of holeshot wins out there and I was trying to get one more for our Jeg's Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T team but it wasn't meant to be."
"When I won my two championships I would say I got the lion's share of the races that are decided by a hundredth of a second or less. This year the scale might be tilting back the other way just a tad, but that's part of the deal. Every darn race we're in seems like it's inches separating the winner from the loser."
"We'll roll on to Seattle try some things to get better."
The POWERade tour picks up again in four days at the 18th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Seattle.