Jeg Coughlin overcomes obstacles to earn spot in field MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 20): Two-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin had an eventful opening day of qualifying for the O'Reilly Mid-South NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Memphis ...
Jeg Coughlin overcomes obstacles to earn spot in field
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 20): Two-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin had an eventful opening day of qualifying for the O'Reilly Mid-South NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Memphis Motorsports Park. In the end, the 34-year-old professional driver for the Jeg's Mail Order camp found himself in 11th place in the field of 16 provisional qualifiers.
Coughlin started the day with a slightly off-pace 6.893-second pass at 199.49 mph. It was a true test run as the team decided to use the lap to break-in a brand-new motor.
"We knew the best round of the day was going to be the night session under the lights so we decided early on to use the first qualifying run to get a baseline for this new power plant," Jeg said. "Since it was all new components we really couldn't be very aggressive but we still ended up in the top 16, which was encouraging."
In Round 2, the entire Pro Stock class was primed to step up big as the afternoon heat and humidity finally gave way to slightly cooler and less damp conditions. Coughlin and crew were ready to once again take advantage of a track where they've already recorded two national event victories.
Although the team managed to step up considerably in Round 2, with Coughlin's sleek Chevrolet Cavalier posting a 6.848 at 200.41 mph to move him up five spots to 11th place, there were no high-fives being exchanged in the Jeg's pit at day's end. Unfortunately, the exact same electronic gremlin that robbed the team of vital on-track data on two separate occasions last weekend resurfaced here with Coughlin storing no information from his second run to his onboard computer.
"The guys from Racepak are back in the pit trying to help us figure this thing out," Jeg said. "With two nighttime sessions of qualifying at this race, the other coming tomorrow night, we really would have liked to have had that data. This is something we need to correct right away.
"Even so, it's hard to be upset with a run that showed us being the fifth-best in the field on the back-half numbers. We were off-pace down low, only 23rd best to the 60-foot timer, but then this thing just took off. We probably should have had a 6.80.
"I'm glad we have two more chances Saturday. We're expecting big things from this new engine and every lap should get better and better."
Saturday's final two professional qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3 and 6 p.m.