NHRA Pro Stock - Despite Rain Coughlin Makes Field At Winternationals

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POMONA, Feb. 12, 2012: Jeg Coughlin Jr.'s return to Pro Stock racing at the NHRA Winternationals hasn’t been flashy so far, but the JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger is in Sunday's elimination field in the No. 14 spot with good data to work from.

"We've made progress," Coughlin said. "Are we where we wanted to be going into game day at the first Pomona? No. I don't think we are. But I'm also not disappointed about it. We found the things that have hampered our performance along the way."

Qualifying for the race was cut to just three sessions after torrential rains hit Auto Club Raceway at Pomona on Saturday afternoon. Coughlin and the car struggled in the first two rounds before running a 6.637-second pass at 209.20 mph in the third and final session.

"We were looking to cut halfway into the number of where we were and the No. 1 qualifier's time," Coughlin said. "Our goal in Q3 was to just get it to the other end. We had a more aggressive setup in the car for Round 4, but we didn't get to run it.

"We were third pair out for Q3 and the two pairs in front of us were all over the track and didn't make it to 60 feet. Our car wanted to do the same thing, but we were so under-geared, it slid sideways, bogged the engine down and stopped the tire from slipping."

Many teams were happy to see the rains come, but Coughlin said he was disappointed he wasn't able to make that fourth run in order to gather even more data ahead of Sunday's eliminations.

"Every run we make, we're multiplying our database," Coughlin said. "After Q1 we found small issues with the electronics that were hurting us. After Q2 we found more stuff in the electronics.

"My crew chief Tomi Laine, Roy Simmons and my dad (Jeg Coughlin Sr.) have been working hard and I think we had a pretty cool setup for Q4, but I'm sure we'll play off of that setup tomorrow morning."

Coughlin will open against No. 3 qualifier Ronnie Humphrey, who had a best time of 6.548 seconds at 211.96. Coughlin, who has won a race from all 16 starting positions, said he can’t wait to get that Sunday morning competitive spirit up and going again.

"It's been a while since I've let the clutch out on a Sunday," Coughlin said. "I've got a good bunch behind me. I can tell you I'm excited and I'm ready. Ronnie is a tough competitor, but tough competitors don't scare us. We're looking to get out there and turn the win light on."

Eliminations for the season opening NHRA Winternationals get under way at 11 a.m. PST from Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

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