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Coughlin Passes Tests On And Off Track In Wash.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 5 2018

Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. survived a rules challenge by fellow competitor Chris McGaha to claim the pole in the Northwest Nationals.


Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s revived Pro Stock career earned the five-time NHRA world champion the ultimate compliment Saturday as qualifying concluded for the 31st annual CatSpot NHRA Northwest Nationals.

Coughlin’s pole-winning pass at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash., was protested by Chris McGaha, who questioned the legality of the Jegs.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro SS. By NHRA rule, any competitor can challenge the legality of any other car, but the protesting party must stipulate how the accused party is cheating and pay a $1,000 fee.

After Coughlin covered the traditional quarter-mile in 6.501-seconds at 212.16 mph Friday night to earn the provisional pole, McGaha decided that Coughlin and Elite teammate/two-time world champ Erica Enders must be fudging the rules. McGaha then posted $2,000 to file a protest on each driver’s car. Both vehicles were thoroughly inspected and subsequently deemed legal, so Coughlin and Enders were handed the cash.

“Not sure what was going on there but we’ll chalk that up as a flattering experience and enjoy a little party money for Saturday night,” Coughlin said. “Yeah, it’s kinda funny. I guess you look at it after racing for 30 years, we’ve been torn down and checked by the NHRA Tech department many times and never had an issue. 

“This is the first time in my career where we had an official protest against me and my team and, obviously, we weren’t concerned about anything because the NHRA does a great job in both writing the rules and supporting the rules with all the competitors. They had a look, found nothing wrong with what we’re doing over here, and that was the end of it.”

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Matt Hagan (Funny Car) also secured poles in their respective classes in the 16th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. Sunday’s race also is the third and final stop of NHRA’s annual summertime Western Swing through the Denver, Northern California and Seattle markets.

The FOX Network will air three hours of finals coverage Sunday beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT).

 Coughlin’s 25th career pole followed his third Pro Stock win of the season last weekend at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Overall, Jeggie owns 80 career wins _ 61 in Pro Stock and 19 in various Sportsman categories.

“We’ve made some great runs in qualifying here and we’re excited to continue the momentum from Sonoma,” Coughlin said. “We opened Friday with a great 6.505-second pass and ended up No. 2 after the first session. We came back in the evening session and the track was cooler so we were hoping to tap into the 6.40s but we ran the 6.501 and that was good enough to move us up to No. 1 and keep us there.

“I feel good about the efforts the team has done R&D-wise on the new engine program over the last month or so. We put a new bullet (engine) in our car last weekend and won the race. Now we’re No. 1 here. We’re still refining it a little bit and I feel great behind the wheel so I look to have a good clean day tomorrow and see if we can’t ring up four more round-wins and another huge victory.”

Coughlin will attempt to secure his first victory at Pacific Raceways since 2002 when he opens eliminations Sunday against No. 16 qualifier Joey Grose and his Camaro.

Point-leader Greg Anderson qualified second at 6.503-seconds and 211.79 mph Friday in his Ken Black Racing Camaro. The four-time world champ will meet Steve Graham in Round One.

Hagan, a two-time world champion at Don Schumacher Racing, secured his fourth Funny Car pole of the season and first at Pacific Raceways via his 1,000-foot run of 3.913-seconds at 324.75 mph from Friday night. Fourth in the championship standings, Hagan will chase his third victory in five races Sunday when he opens against two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon.

“I think the new body is just a little bit of a learning curve,” said Hagan, referring to his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. “The car is obviously running great with No. 1 qualifier but there’s still some things we’re learning about this new Hellcat body. I feel confident about it though.”

Two-time/reigning world champ Robert Hight secured the No. 2 position in his Chevrolet Camaro SS with a pass of 3.919-seconds at 327.82 mph during the second qualifying session. Hight, of John Force Racing, will open against veteran independent campaigner Gary Densham.

In Top Fuel, category leader Torrence continued to extend his point lead by securing his second No. 1 position of the year, as his 1,000-foot pass of 3.723-seconds at 331.61 mph in the Torrence Racing dragster from Friday held serve.

“This season has been a lot of fun,” Torrence said after notching his first pole at Pacific Raceways. “The car ran well throughout qualifying and I’m not too concerned with its performance tomorrow. The last time we were No. 1 qualifiers it didn’t bode well for us, so hopefully we can turn that around.”

Doug Kalitta sits second in team-owner Connie Kalitta’s Mac Tools dragster after a pass of 3.730-seconds at 326.00 mph on Friday. Doug Kalitta will meet Bill Litton in the first round.

Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations at the 31st annual CatSpot NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash., the 16th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based upon results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings:

Top Fuel _ 1. Steve Torrence, 3.723-seconds, 331.61 mph vs. 16. Ron Smith, 4.861, 190.08; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.730, 326.00 vs. 15. Bill Litton, 3.970, 307.86; 3. Clay Millican, 3.743, 330.47 vs. 14. Jim Maroney, 3.932, 283.13; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.751, 327.11 vs. 13. Terry McMillen, 3.891, 311.34; 5. Antron Brown, 3.761, 330.80 vs. 12. Shawn Reed, 3.869, 318.84; 6. Leah Pritchett, 3.764, 322.34 vs. 11. Troy Buff, 3.867, 304.80; 7. Mike Salinas, 3.768, 327.98 vs. 10. Scott Palmer, 3.815, 323.81; 8. Brittany Force, 3.785, 326.32 vs. 9. Richie Crampton, 3.792, 323.50.

Funny Car _ 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.913, 324.75 vs. 16. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.182, 296.63; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.919, 327.82 vs. 15. Gary Densham, Ford Mustang, 4.085, 309.98; 3. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.927, 325.69 vs. 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.073, 307.09; 4. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.943, 321.19 vs. 13. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.056, 315.71; 5. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.963, 320.58 vs. 12. Richard Townsend, Camry, 4.041, 305.84; 6. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.977, 325.37 vs. 11. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.028, 317.79; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.977, 321.35 vs. 10. John Force, Camaro, 4.028, 318.39; 8. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 3.995, 315.42 vs. 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.008, 319.22.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Jeff Diehl, 4.211, 289.94; 18. Terry Haddock, 4.299, 289.32.

Pro Stock _ 1. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Chevy Camaro, 6.501, 212.16 vs. 16. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.708, 206.80; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.503, 211.79 vs. 15. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.637, 209.07; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.506, 212.66 vs. 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.615, 209.01; 4. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.510, 212.09 vs. 13. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.564, 210.54; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.518, 211.73 vs. 12. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.557, 209.95; 6. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.522, 211.56 vs. 11. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.553, 211.13; 7. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.526, 211.96 vs. 10. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.541, 210.80; 8. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.527, 211.33 vs. 9. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.541, 211.83.



| , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 5 2018
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