Jeg sizes up threat from reigning champ
Topeka, Saturday: A drastic swing in the weather conditions left the Pro Stock field of the 17th annual NHRA Summer Nationals pretty much intact. Only one racer managed to break into the top 16 Saturday as ambient temperatures soared into the 80s and the heat on the racing surface topped 110 degrees. It was a huge difference from Friday's cool weather.
Two-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin successfully qualified his Jeg's Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T in the No. 16 position, keeping alive his perfect streak of qualifying for every race on the 2005 POWERade Drag Racing Series. His 6.785-second pass at 203.12 mph from the first of four qualifying runs ended up being his best.
"We made the field, so we've already accomplished the first goal on our list," Coughlin said. "You have to be in the field to have a chance at winning and we're in the field, so that's great. I'm awfully proud of this Jeg's Mail Order race team because you don't often have back-to-back days at a racetrack where the conditions are so dramatically different. Yet, these pros made it look like just another day at work.
"We're revved about having a good race day. I've won here before in 2000 so I already know how to get to the winner's circle. We'd love to make a repeat appearance. Certainly, the hard work these guys have put in needs to be rewarded very soon. Hopefully things will fall our way tomorrow."
Coughlin will open eliminations against No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson, who made the field with a track-record pass of 6.716 seconds at 204.57 mph. Anderson won the last two races on tour as well as the last two races at Heartland Park Topeka. The back-to-back reigning series champion is 2-1 versus Coughlin this season.
"I not worried about hurting his feelings," Coughlin said with a laugh. "Champion or not, we'll race him as hard as humanly possible. We know Greg is a fantastic driver with a great racecar so we'll be geared up for a battle. The goal of winning each race we enter has not changed, regardless of who's in the other lane."
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