Coughlin concludes best qualifying effort of the year in No. 1 spot
Chicago, Saturday: Reigning Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. executed the quickest quarter-mile pass of the Route 66 NHRA Nationals Saturday to secure the 13th low qualifier award of his career. Coughlin's 6.705 at 205.10 mph in his Jegs.com Chevrolet Cobalt placed him on top of the elimination ladder at the race he won in 2007.
It's been a banner weekend for Coughlin so far. He was the second quickest in both of Friday's rounds with runs of 6.733 and 6.726 seconds. His final pass Saturday was a 6.727, the third quickest of the group.
"We talked about consistency coming into this race and we've obviously found it here," the 52-time national event winner said to the gathered media. "I would guess we'll earn the Full Throttle Award (for being the most consistent team in qualifying), which would be a real fine thing for the crew. The guys are busting their butts to get this car perfect.
"The difference this weekend is we've gotten the car to really accelerate well through the first three gears. When I let the clutch out it sat right back on the rear tires and just launched. It marched hard right up to the top of first and when I shifted to second and again to third it did the same thing. Normally, because we're applying so much horsepower, you get some shake but this weekend it's just been so smooth."
The Full Throttle Award isn't officially released until Sunday morning.
After opening the weekend second in the POWERade rankings, 20 points behind Kurt Johnson, Coughlin already has managed to gain four points back on his friendly rival. K.J. qualified five spots down from Coughlin in sixth place overall.
Coughlin opens eliminations with lane choice over rookie Rickie Jones, who anchored the field with a 6.754 at 203.92 mph. This event marks Jones' seventh race in the Pro Stock class. He has collected one elimination round win so far.
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