Coughlin will start Vegas race from 11th slot
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 31) — Reigning back-to-back Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. will try to win his eighth race of the season and third straight at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from the No. 11 position after posting a best pass of 6.688 seconds at 206.35 mph during qualifying for the ninth annual Las Vegas NHRA Nationals.
Like most of the racers in the class, Coughlin made his run of record in Friday’s cooler evening session. His Victor Cagnazzi Racing team swapped engines Saturday morning looking for a little extra horsepower but eventually elected to return to Friday’s set-up.
“We’re trying to chip away at it,” the 61-time national event winner said. “We thought that motor under the bench would pick us up a tad but it just didn’t produce so we switched back to the engine we used yesterday.
“We won our last race in Indy from the bottom half of the field so it can be done. The field is pretty bunched up here so I think we’ll have a good shot. We’re certainly going to give it our best shot.”
Coughlin will open eliminations against veteran Allen Johnson, who qualified sixth with a 6.679 at 206.61 mph. The two men have split their four previous meetings this year.
“Allen has been strong all year and he doesn’t make any mistakes,” Coughlin said. “He’ll be a good test for us right from the start.
“Our thought process at this point is really focused on stuff that will make us better next year. We had a great season up until the Countdown to 1 started and that’s when we needed to be at our best and it just didn’t happen for us this time. The last few years it was exactly the opposite for us. That’s racing.”