Reading: Jeg Coughlin Saturday summary

Jeg Coughlin ready to race for Reading title Jeg Coughlin took advantage of Saturday morning's cooler temperatures and overcast skies at Maple Grove Raceway to move into a comfortable mid-pack position in the elimination field of the 20th annual...

Jeg Coughlin ready to race for Reading title

Jeg Coughlin took advantage of Saturday morning's cooler temperatures and overcast skies at Maple Grove Raceway to move into a comfortable mid-pack position in the elimination field of the 20th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. The three-time NHRA champion's 6.719-second quarter-mile romp at 204.82 mph placed him ninth on the ladder, just .026 seconds off the pace of the No. 1 car.

"We started the day 16th so any upward movement is a good thing," said Coughlin, a winner here in 1999. "We ended up ninth, so we'll race the No. 8 car first and we'll probably be the first pair out there so we're in for a treat. That's the extra work you get for not being at the top of the sheet.

"The track usually doesn't come around until there have been four or five pairs of cars down the groove. We won't have that luxury so we'll have to be perfect if we hope to win. The good news is our opponent has the same hurdles to clear."

Veteran racer Allen Johnson will be the first obstacle in Coughlin's quest for his 34th career Pro Stock victory. Johnson's best pass of 6.717 seconds at 204.08 mph will earn him lane choice over Coughlin by two-thousandths of a second.

"We like our chances because in the final qualifying session the car planted itself so well at the hit (of the throttle) and it got up on the tires and appeared to be off on a great run until a rocker arm broke and I had to shut it off," Coughlin said. "Even on seven cylinders, it put up a 1.01-second 60-foot time, which is pretty darn good.

"Because we were 16th overnight, we knew we had to be a little careful in applying the fire in today's first round. We erred to the side of getting 99 percent out of this Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier instead of being greedy and finding ourselves at 101 percent and overpowering the track. We just couldn't waste the run. We had her figured out for this last round but the rocker arm broke and there was nothing I could do but push in the clutch. We'll fix it and we should be fine by tomorrow."

The action starts promptly at 11 a.m. with Top Fuel and Funny Car leading the way. Pro Stock should begin around noon.

-www.teamjegs.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Allen Johnson