Seattle leaves Coughlin, team looking for more

1467Reigning NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. knows his Dodge team will be putting in overtime looking for improvement after a strange second-round loss at the O’Reilly NHRA Northwest Nationals on Sunday at Pacific Raceways.

“We’ll be sleepless until Brainerd (Minn.), coming out of Seattle,” Coughlin said.

After qualifying No. 4 in Seattle, Coughlin had high hopes for Sunday’s eliminations, which started with a first-round win over Larry Morgan, but his Dodge Dart shook the tires hard off the line in the second round against Greg Anderson, so much so that the parachutes popped early, ending any chance at victory.

While J&J Racing teammate Allen Johnson qualified No. 1 and raced to the semifinals, Coughlin and his team were left scratching their heads.

“We came in wanting to try a few things early in the weekend,” Coughlin said. “It looked like things were decent, but we pretty much made the car identical to Allen’s going into Sunday. The cars are pretty similar, and we’ve run them pretty similar.

“We’ve been up and down hot racetracks, up and down cold racetracks, good air, bad air, it hadn’t really mattered.”

Coughlin made a decent pass in E1, 6.565 seconds at 210.67, to easily outrun Morgan’s run of 6.646 at 208.17 mph. But while Anderson’s second-round lap was 6.571 at 211.30 mph, Coughlin crept to the finish line with a 12.185-second pass at 54.52 mph — and the chutes trailing behind him.

But Coughlin is confident that his team and crew chiefs Adam Hornberger and Mark Ingersoll will get his Dodge’s tune-up better.

“We’ve got to write down on a piece of paper where this thing is set up at and compare that to something we know worked well,” Coughlin said. “There’s a glaring problem and it’s self-induced. It’s not a car problem and not likely a horsepower problem. The car is doing what it’s told to do, and right now that’s not what we want it to do.”

Seattle may have been tough to swallow, but Coughlin knows the results can come. He has won twice this season in four final-round appearances and leaves Seattle fourth in the points standings.

“A little disappointing, to say the least,” Coughlin said. “The good thing is we’ve got two races to sort it out before the Countdown. I’d really like to see us sort it out before Q1 at Brainerd. We’ve got the talent for it, and we’ve got the support for it.”

Reigning Pro Stock world champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. posted a quarterfinal finish in Seattle.