Indianapolis: Jeg Coughlin Friday summary

Jeg wins HEMI Shootout and looks good in Pro Stock Jeg Coughlin's quest to collect three trophies at the 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is off to a great start after his big victory in the prestigious Mopar Performance Parts Super Stock...

Jeg wins HEMI Shootout and looks good in Pro Stock

Jeg Coughlin's quest to collect three trophies at the 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is off to a great start after his big victory in the prestigious Mopar Performance Parts Super Stock Hemi Challenge. Coughlin took care of class veteran Rick Houser in the finals by just one-hundredth of a second.

Piloting Michael Ogburn and Harry Holton's record-setting West Coast Hemis 1968 Plymouth Barracuda, Coughlin posted the quickest pass of all five elimination rounds en route to his win. In the final round, Coughlin caught and passed Houser, taking the stripe in 8.790 seconds at 149.80 mph to Houser's 8.807 at 149.51 mph.

"The final was close," said Coughlin, who has seven national event wins in Super Stock. "He was ahead at the start the first time I peeked over and he was still ahead the next time I looked at about 330 foot. But once Harry's horsepower started kicking in I could just feel the car creep up on him. Then we passed him and got to that stripe first.

"It was extremely exciting to roll around the corner at the top end and see all of those lights and cameras pointing at me. I really liked seeing that big check also. It's a really cool deal to win the first trophy handed out this weekend. This is the biggest race of the year and the fact it's the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Nationals makes it even more special. I'm very, very proud of this win.

"I feel like my driving was all over the place today. Having the quickest and fastest car in the country puts a lot of pressure on the driver. Fortunately, the car was fast enough to keep me out of trouble."

Friday also featured the first of five rounds of professional qualifying and Coughlin managed to place his usual ride, the Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier, comfortably in the field in the No. 8 position. He'll have four more chances to improve on his mid-pack numbers of 6.837 at 201.43 mph, with two sessions scheduled for Saturday and two more Sunday. Professional eliminations at this race take place on Monday.

"The last few years we have struggled on Friday night so to have a run that leaves us in eighth place is very satisfying," Coughlin said. "The car lacked a little something down low. It felt like it accelerated well initially but then it tugged down for a second. After that it picked right up and carried through the lights. It was a good start and I feel bigger things will come soon."

-www.teamjegs.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin