Coughlin outdrives opponents en route to quarterfinal showing
Denver, Sunday: Pro Stock veteran Jeg Coughlin Jr. looked as sharp as ever in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt, racing to an elite eight finish at Denver's Bandimere Speedway with some great driving. Coughlin beat both of his Sunday foes off the launch pad but was caught and passed by Greg Anderson three-quarters of the way down the track to end the day fifth out of 16 hungry competitors.
"This was a good rebound weekend for us," Coughlin said. "I felt great and completely rejuvenated behind the wheel. I'm a little disappointed we didn't win that second race and get into the semis but overall I'm excited about the day and the weekend as a whole. We're certainly ready to get to Seattle and keep on building on this."
After qualifying with identical elapsed times of 7.040 seconds, Coughlin knew his first-round race against good buddy Justin Humphreys would likely come down to the drivers. As usual, the four-time world champ delivered with a stellar .021 to .031-second reaction time advantage that he stretched by a few more thousandths to win with another 7.040 at 194.32 mph to Humphrey's 7.044 at 194.77 mph.
The quarterfinals would require even more concentration from Coughlin as he was matched with Greg Anderson, who had run slightly quicker in the opening stanza and therefore had lane choice. Once again, Coughlin did his job, reacting to the Christmas Tree with a cosmic .007 light. But Anderson was close behind with a .014-second start and was able to track down Coughlin and pass him just before the 1,000-foot mark, winning with a 7.046 at 195.70 mph to Coughlin's 7.065 at 194.07 mph.
"We just couldn't keep it out front," Coughlin said. "I felt like I needed a hundredth (of a second) to have a chance and we did leave first, but Greg was right there and it just didn't happen for us. He came around down there and there right at the end.
"We did hurt our motor in Round 1 and had a thrash between sessions getting a new piece in there but the guys did a great job making the switch. I'm proud of the effort."
Coughlin won't be leaving the Denver area right away as he has a private tour of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in nearby Colorado Springs scheduled for Monday. NORAD is celebrating its 50th anniversary and Coughlin saluted the program with a special NORAD helmet design and logos on his racecar. He will present the helmet to Lieutenant General Charlie Bouchard of the Canadian Armed Forces, NORAD's Deputy Commander, for placement in NORAD's extensive museum.
"I'm really excited to see the inside of that place," Coughlin said. "I've heard it's awesome. It's an honor to be invited."
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