A total of 31 Pro Stock drivers and their teams battled over four qualifying sessions to be among the "quick sixteen" and have a chance to leave the winner of NHRA's most competitive professional class. The battle lines were drawn at the ...
A total of 31 Pro Stock drivers and their teams battled over four qualifying sessions to be among the "quick sixteen" and have a chance to leave the winner of NHRA's most competitive professional class. The battle lines were drawn at the conclusion of the fourth and final qualifying session Saturday evening as the sun set at historic Firebird International Raceway.
In the opening round reigning Pro Stock Champion Jeg Coughlin, Jr faced off against Richie "the kid" Stevens. Jeg had lane choice and took the right lane. The match up put the proven Oldsmobile Cutlass against a new Pontiac Grand Am.
Both drivers rolled into the starting line beams without hesitation. Richie Stevens took a .004 second advantage off of the line (.420 to .424) and Jeg quickly followed. The two cars looked like they were welded together.
Jeg and his Jeg's Mail Order started to slowly pull away as the two cars approached the finish line. Coughlin took the win light by .026 seconds at the stripe. He ran a 6.931 at 198.93 mph.
"The car hooked up well from the beginning of the run," said Jeg after returning to the trailer after the opening round. "We learned a lot about the track during the first round. It was the first time all weekend that there was not any cloud cover and the sun really changed the racing surface."
In the second round Jeg lined up next to Warren Johnson. Lane choice went to WJ by a mere .009 seconds. The Jeg's machine set up camp in the left lane.
Jeg left the starting line beams and turned the red light on. He ran a 6.953 at 198.50 mph and WJ ran a 6.959 at 199.26 mph. The incremental numbers were better for Jeg throughout the run.
"The guys really hustled this weekend and did a great job reading the track on raceday," commented Jeg. "We really wanted to give this Cutlass one more win before bringing out our new Chevy Cavalier. We will head back to the shop and finish some last minute changes to the new car before testing in Gainesville. Our entire team will be ready when we get to the Mac Tools Gatornationals."