Coughlin Sets Gainesville Raceway Track Record, Grabs Provisional No. 1; Connolly Qualifies Third GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 16, 2007 -- There's something about Gainesville Raceway that brings out the best in Jeg Coughlin. Returning for the 38th...
Coughlin Sets Gainesville Raceway Track Record, Grabs Provisional No. 1; Connolly Qualifies Third
GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 16, 2007 -- There's something about Gainesville Raceway that brings out the best in Jeg Coughlin.
Returning for the 38th ACDelco Nationals after a one-year absence, Coughlin Friday drove the bright yellow Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevy Cobalt to the quickest Pro Stock run in track history, 6.632 seconds at 207.75 mph, as qualifying began for Sunday's event. The performance puts him atop the 16-car field with two runs Saturday standing between him and his ninth career No. 1.
"It was great to perform well at Gainesville, but to perform well in front of key executives from Bravo! Brands was very important," said Coughlin, of Delaware, Ohio. Those attending the race from Bravo! Brands Inc., Slammers Ultimate Milk's parent company, are Roy Warren, chief executive officer; Jeff Kaplan, chief financial officer; and Stan Harris, chief marketing officer.
Dave Connolly, Coughlin's Cagnazzi Racing teammate in the TORCO Slammers Ultimate Milk Cobalt, was the leader after an opening run of 6.662-seconds at 207.37-mph and improved his time to 6.652 at 208.17 mph that left him third overall.
"I could tell early in the last run that it would be a good one," Coughlin recalled. "The car went up on the tires early and it pulled through all the gears. When they told me what I'd run, I had to ask them to repeat it."
The Friday feats are the direct results of a three-day test session earlier in the week that had Connolly driving both cars and making more than 30 laps.
"We have great horsepower and good cars," said Coughlin, "and we just needed to figure out what we needed to do to take advantage of the horsepower we have. A lot of work went into that three days and I'm real optimistic about the results. We have confidence we can make the cars even better."
Connolly, meanwhile, said he was "happy we had two of the top three cars in qualifying. We missed (the tune-up) a little bit but we know what parts we need to change to make it run quicker. The two runs today were probably more like test runs because the weather is supposed to be cooler Saturday and Sunday and conditions should be much better."
Coughlin, incidentally, notched his first Pro Stock top qualifying position here in 1998. He also was a finalist four consecutive years (2001-2004), winning in 2001.