NHRA Pro Stock - Coughlin Rides The Ragged Edge In First-round Loss In Phoenix
PHOENIX, Feb. 20, 2012: Following qualifying for the NHRA Arizona Nationals, Pro Stock ace Jeg Coughlin Jr. said the JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger needed to get more aggressive for Sunday's first round matchup with Jason Line.
For the first half of the race, that plan looked like it was working to perfection, but just when things were looking good for the five-time world champ the JEGS.com Dodge made a couple of sideways moves and Coughlin had to cut off the power.
"It was a bit of a handful," Coughlin said. "We've been working to try and get this car to be a little more efficient downtrack. The car went a little bit left and we couldn't get it back right into the groove. At every gear change it was getting more upset. It got really loose in third and all the way through fourth gear.
"Eventually, I had to throw in the towel. We were still ahead of him at halftrack, even though I wasn't even under power. It never really felt like we were at that point of no return, but a split-second longer, it might have told me different."
Coughlin's aggression started at the green light with a near-perfect .005-second reaction time against Line's .078. In the end, Line finished in 6.549 seconds at 211.56 mph, while Coughlin coasted across in 7.078 seconds at 156.92 mph.
"It stings, but Jason is the world champ for a good reason," Coughlin said. "Their performance is amazing, and it's something we're going to work on during the break with this team.
"We're certainly capable of running with them, but we’ve got a lot of homework to do."
Coughlin said the JNR Racing shop should have another engine ready for racing by the next race, the March 9-11 Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., which would allow for more flexibility during race weekend.
"Typically we love these back-to-back races," Coughlin said. "But for a start-up team like ours, it's not given us a lot of time to fine-tune some things all the way around the car.
"The whole program needs a little polishing up, and I think this two-and-half week break will give us the opportunity to do that."