Jeg Coughlin wins first of season. The blistering heat and humidity in the St. Louis area proved to be a challenging task all weekend for the Pro Stock class. Troy and Jeg Coughlin, Jr. showed that both of the Jeg's Mail Order Chevy...
Jeg Coughlin wins first of season.
The blistering heat and humidity in the St. Louis area proved to be a challenging task all weekend for the Pro Stock class. Troy and Jeg Coughlin, Jr. showed that both of the Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavaliers had what it took to perform in the heat. They battled through four qualifying sessions with 40 drivers for the 16 available qualifying positions for raceday.
Troy and Jeg Coughlin landed in the No. 7 and No. 8 spots respectively and were rewarded with lane choice to start the day. Their qualifying efforts also put the teammates on opposite sides of the ladder and the possibility for an all-Jeg's final existed.
In the opening round Jeg faced off against Bruce Allen. The match up pitted a Chevy Cavalier against a Pontiac Grand Am. Coughlin drove his yellow and black Jeg's machine into the preferred left lane with the goal of having lane choice all day and claiming his first win of the season.
Both drivers slowly rolled into the pre stage beam and then the cars went into park with the sound of dulling engines. Neither wanted to make the first move, Jeg rolled into the stage light after what seemed like over a minute.
The difference in reaction time off of the line was .001 and it went Jeg (.469 to .469). The Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier took this one from start to finish and never looked back. Jeg posted a run of 6.933 at 199.11 mph and took the win by .0347 seconds.
"We have had a strong performing car since we took it out of the trailer this weekend for the first time. Lane choice is always critical in hot conditions and our goal was to get lane choice. We have really brought our A-game to the track this weekend as a team," explained Jeg after round one.
Troy Coughlin faced off against Greg Anderson in round one. This was the only first round match up of previous event winners this season. The Jeg's Mail Order driver took the preferred left lane in this heated match up.
Both Chevy Cavaliers left the starting line together, a slight advantage went to Anderson by .004 seconds (.471 to .475). The cars looked like they were welded together by the door handles. The margin of victory was .0114 seconds at the stripe and went to Greg Anderson. Troy crossed the finish line with an impressive 6.921 at 199.40 mph.
"Pro Stock is as competitive as it gets. Side-by-side races like this are what Pro Stock is all about. We made a solid run and the car has responded well all weekend and we are just excited to have everything going in the right direction," stated Troy.
In the second round Jeg went head-to-head with points leader Jim Yates. Once again Jeg ran the table from start to finish and never looked back. The Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier grabbed the win with a quicker 6.932 at 199.11 mph.
"Jim and I always have a great race no matter what round it is. I think that we both bring out the best in each other and it just raises the bar for the class,' commented Jeg.
The semifinal round pairing threw Jeg Coughlin and leading NHRA "Rookie of the Year" candidate Mark Whisnant toe-to-toe. Jeg had lane choice and became increasingly important after an oil down in the left lane during the last pair of Funny Cars in the semifinal round. The team worked together to evaluate both lanes quickly and decided to move over to the right lane.
Whisnant fouled out and turned the win light on for Jeg. Both cars posted identical 6.969 times on the scoreboard.
"I have to commend the Whisnant group for their sportsmanship. We had a problem starting the car under the tower and they could have just pulled to the lane and rushed the entire situation, we probably would not have been able to make the call to the starting lane. That shows a lot about that group and explains why Mark Whisnant is the leading candidate for the NHRA Rookie of the Year Award. They are a class act and showed it today for everyone to see," said the 1998 NHRA Rookie of the Year.
Jeg Coughlin, Jr faced red-hot Greg Anderson. The final round appearance marked the third of the season for the 2000 NHRA Pro Stock Champion. Anderson was searching for his third victory of the season.
This final round match up lived up to the billing. Both drivers are well known and well respected by their peers and fans for their starting line ability. Jeg left the line first by a mere .001 seconds (.457 to .458). The two cars were side-by-side from start to finish. The win went to Coughlin by .0035 seconds at the stripe and the Jeg's mail Order machine ran a quicker 6.928 at 199.52 mph.
"I feel great, no doubt about it," Coughlin said in the press room. "We're 12 races into the season and (brother and teammate) Troy (Coughlin) got a win in Topeka and now we have a win and it feels great! The Pro stock category is unbelievably tough this season and it is great for the sport. I think that fans get more involved when it is not the same group winning all the time. Everyone in Pro Stock is really benefiting for the competitiveness of the class."
No victory in NHRA's most competitive class comes easy. The stats for the current season speak for themselves.
"That race was so close that neither one of us knew who won," Coughlin said. "It was no walk I the park today. I came here last week to race my bracket car in a race and it was over 100 degrees (on the track) every day then too. I think that really helped us this weekend to really adapt to the conditions."
Jeg moved up to the No. 4 position in the 2002 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Championship. Troy is on the verge of breaking into the top ten. Both Jeg's Mail Order drivers are looking forward to a strong showing during the famed "West Coast Swing" that begins in two weeks and goes for three straight weeks.