Among the best racers to triumph in Pomona, six-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. sits poised to continue his Southern California success during the 50th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals.
Looking to leave the season finale with the Wally, Coughlin’s JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart looked consistently fast throughout all four qualifying sessions. With his best time of 6.534 at 211.89 mph occurring during Q3, Coughlin secured the No. 4 spot on the eliminations ladder.
“Going into the last day of the season we really made four good runs,” Coughlin said. “Both runs today we were looking to get maybe a little bit more out of them than we did. The car moved in opposite lanes both runs; in the left lane it went left a little bit and in the right lane it went right a little bit.
“I think (crew chief) Adam (Hornberger) and the guys will do a good job to navigate that part of it, and we’ll wait to see what Mother Nature shows up with for tomorrow.”
Facing off against No. 13 Vieri Gaines during round one of eliminations, Coughlin is confident in his chances of getting the job done one more time this season and for the seventh time in Pomona.
“I like the way we’re running going into game day,” Coughlin said. “I feel great behind the wheel and that’s what it takes to win in Pro Stock. We’ve got a great team and are feeling good. Let’s get it done now.”
Already accumulating 74 total national event wins and 99 Pro Stock final-round appearances, the six-time champion is looking forward to his chance at continuing to make history and notch those statistics up a mark.
“Stats are cool when you hear them spoken like that,” Coughlin said. “We’d like to reach that centennial mark of final-round appearances but would love nothing more than to light up that win light and send the year out in firework style, all while having a good time doing it.”
Eliminations will start at approximately noon, Sunday, with both qualifying and elimination action broadcast on ESPN2 on tape-delay basis.
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Team JEGS had an outstanding first day at the U.S. Nationals on Friday at Lucas Oil Raceway.
JEGS.com Pro Mod driver Troy Coughlin secured the provisional No. 1 qualifier, and son T.J. Coughlin won first-round matches in Super Gas and Super Comp. Four-time U.S. Nationals champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. meanwhile was No. 10 in Pro Stock qualifying.
“We had a helluva first day when you look at all the teams,” said Jeg, the U.S. Nationals champion in Pro Stock in 2000, 2002, and 2009 and in Super Gas in 1992. “Troy going to the pole in Pro Mod was exciting, and T.J. getting a couple first-round wins was great.”
Older brother Troy agreed.
“It’s been a pretty good day,” Troy said. “Jeggie’s qualified in the middle of the pack, we ended up No. 1, and T.J.’s won in Super Comp and Super Gas first round. Pretty good day for JEGS.com.”
Troy’s turbocharged Corvette sped down Lucas Oil Raceway with a pass of 5.945 seconds at 248.75 mph to lead 31 Pro Mod cars that made qualifying passes Friday.
“We’ve been testing a lot and it’s been running pretty good,” Troy said. “(Crew chief) Steve (Petty) is just a mastermind at what he’s doing. As long as we don’t make any mistakes, man, it’ll run pretty good.”
T.J., coming off a Division 3 Super Gas victory at Cecil County Raceway two weeks ago, got past what is perhaps the most difficult round in the Sportsman classes.
In his Super Gas roadster, T.J. had a .025-second reaction time and ran under his 9.90-second index but was able to advance.
“I didn’t quite get it all,” T.J. said. “We’ll come back a little bit more up on the wheel. First round is always the toughest. Tomorrow will be similar, but with a round under your belt in competition, it’s a little easier mentally.”
T.J. races Diana Anderson in the second round of Super Gas.
T.J.’s reaction time was better in Super Comp, .012, and ran an 8.898 on his 8.90 index.
“We had a good execution in the dragster,” he said. “We had a good run, close to our index. We’re on a high note on that one, for sure.”
T.J. faces Marion Stephenson in the second round of Super Comp.
Jeg made a Q1 pass of 6.681 seconds at 206.39 mph in his JEGS.com/Mopar Pro Stock Dodge.
“We’re 10th, so obviously there are nine cars happier,” Jeg said. “We’ll work hard tonight to see if we can figure out where the elapsed time is. I’m not too concerned. We’ve got a great computer system on the car, and we all know how to read it and we’ve got a great team. We’ll look to improve and get ourselves in a better position tomorrow. We’d love to run well in Q2 tomorrow and get set up for Q3 and the semifinals of Brainerd.”
The Brainerd race was postponed after two rounds because of rain. Q3 on Saturday at Indy will also serve as the Brainerd semifinals. Jeg lines up against Vincent Nobile in the semifinal race.
Five-time and reigning NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. is more than excited about this weekend’s return to Brainerd Int’l Raceway for the 33rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. That’s because the driver of the powerful JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart counts BIR as one of his top racetracks.
Coughlin’s personal history in the Minnesota Northwoods goes a long way in explaining his love affair with this event. As a professional, he has raced to five final rounds in Brainerd, winning four of those events outright (in 1999, 2002, 2007, and 2010). He also won Brainerd’s Super Stock title in 1997.
“It’s a fun event and any time you go to a track where you’ve won, in this case on multiple occasions, you definitely have a good feeling about your chances,” Coughlin said. “Quite frankly, I have a great feeling about this weekend. The guys have both of our team cars in top condition and we have all the elements in place for success.
“Of course, the other big thing about Brainerd is the fans and the craziness of ‘the Zoo.’ Those folks certainly know how to have a good time, and they are always extremely welcoming to all of the drivers and crew personnel, welcoming us into their world. It’s like a giant party that happens to feature a drag race.”
With this weekend’s race one of just two remaining events in NHRA’s regular season, Coughlin finds himself in a heated battle for position in the championship rankings. Having already earned his spot among the 10 racers who will qualify for this year’s Countdown to the Championship, Coughlin knows every spot he can gain in the points standings will help his cause in the six-race playoffs.
“We’ve had some up an down moments this season, mostly up,” Coughlin said. “We had a great stretch in the early part of the summer and we’d like to get back to that sort of success as the Countdown approaches. We clinched a spot pretty early, so that’s afforded us the time to try out some things for the playoffs.
“They do reset the points and separate us all by 10 points from 1-10 for the start of the Countdown, so while you’d love to start higher up the grid, it’s really a negligible difference between being third or fourth or second or third. It’s more important to enter the Countdown with momentum, which we can start this weekend.”
The JEGS.com team has appeared in five final rounds in the first 16 events of the season with Coughlin claiming victories in Atlanta and Englishtown, N.J.
Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3 and 5:30 p.m., Friday, and 1 and 3:30 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. ESPN2 will carry all qualifying and elimination action.
Reigning NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. knows his JEGS.com/Mopar 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.
- Reigning NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. will continue his title defense at this weekend’s O’Reilly NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle. He will be racing the Dodge Dart that he debuted in March in Gainesville, Fla.
- Last week at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals in Sonoma, Calif., Jeg Jr. drove his HEMI-powered Dodge Dart to a semifinal finish in Pro Stock. He defeated Deric Kramer and Greg Anderson before losing to V. Gaines. He also defeated Kramer and Anderson two weeks ago en route to a runner-up finish in Denver.
- Jeg Jr. enters this weekend’s O’Reilly NHRA Northwest Nationals as the fourth-ranked driver in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock standings. He has appeared in five final rounds in the first 15 events of the season and has claimed victories in Atlanta and Englishtown, N.J.
- Jeg Jr. continues to race as a teammate to past NHRA Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson in 2014. His Dodge Dart is once again powered by HEMI engines from Johnson’s J&J Racing team and is tuned by Johnson’s crew chiefs Mark Ingersoll and Adam Hornberger.
- During his career, which began in 1997, Jeg Jr. has earned 14 top-10 finishes in the NHRA Pro Stock class. He has already clinched a berth in the 2014 Countdown to the Championship, which guarantees him a 15th top-10 finish.
- Jeg Jr. won the 2002 O’Reilly NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, driving to a final-round victory over Mark Whisnant. He also posted runner-up finishes in Seattle in 2013 and 2000. Last year he lost to Vincent Nobile, and in 2000 he was defeated by Richie Stevens. In all three seasons Jeg. Jr. went on to be crowned world champion.
- In 14 career appearances in Seattle, Jeg Jr. has an eliminations round-win record of 14-13 in Pro Stock competition.
- Jeg Jr. has qualified 12th or better in all 14 previous appearances at Pacific Raceways, including a best of No. 3 in 2000.
- Jeg Jr.’s best elapsed time in a Pro Stock car is 6.484 seconds and his best speed is 214.62 mph, both recorded earlier this year in Gainesville behind the wheel of his new JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart.
- Jeg Jr. is one of just 16 professional racers to win 500 elimination rounds of NHRA competition, a feat he accomplished at the 2013 Topeka, Kan., race. The only other Pro Stock drivers with 500 round-wins are Warren Johnson, Bob Glidden, and Greg Anderson.
- Jeg Jr. is one of only three drivers, along with Peter Biondo and Scotty Richardson, to win national event titles in six different categories. He has won in Pro Stock, Comp, Super Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, and Top Dragster.
- Jeg Jr. is the only professional racer in the history of NHRA to win a national event title from all 16 starting spots.
- Jeg Jr. is a five-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock champion. He earned season titles in 2000, 2002, 2007, 2008, and 2013. As a sportsman driver, he claimed the NHRA Super Gas championship in 1992.
- Jeg Jr. finished the 2013 season with four wins, four runner-up finishes, and seven semifinals in 24 events. For the season, he finished with a 48-20 record in eliminations, second only to Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon, who finished with a 54-17 record.
- Including Pacific Raceways, Jeg Jr. has won at least one NHRA national event at 24 different facilities, making him the all-time leader in that category. The only current venues on the NHRA Mello Yello tour where he has not won are the tracks in Norwalk, Ohio, and Epping, N.H.
- In 15 races this season, Jeg Jr. has two wins, two runner-ups, and three semifinals to his credit. His overall record for the year is 26-13.
- With 58 career Pro Stock wins, Jeg Jr. ranks fourth all-time among Pro Stock drivers. Only Warren Johnson (96), Bob Glidden (85), and Greg Anderson (74) have more titles.
- In his 345 career Pro Stock races, Jeg Jr. has reached the final round 97 times, recording 58 wins. Including his 16 sportsman victories, he has won a total of 74 times, tying him with Greg Anderson for eighth place on NHRA’s all-time wins list. During his career, he has appeared in 119 final rounds, 97 as a professional and 22 as a sportsman racer.
- Of Jeg Jr.’s 559 career round-wins in Pro Stock, 93 have come via a starting-line holeshot, which is the most by any past or current NHRA Pro driver.
- During his Pro Stock career, Jeg Jr. has competed in 345 events and recorded 559 round-wins while incurring just 271 losses. He has failed to qualify just 16 times.
- The Coughlin family, including John, Troy, Mike, Jeg Jr., and Troy Jr., has combined for 104 NHRA national event victories since 1990. The Coughlins have won in nine different eliminators: Pro Stock, Pro Stock Truck, Pro Mod, Comp, Super Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, Top Sportsman, and Top Dragster.
Five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. used a pair of victories and a runner-up result at consecutive drag races in Atlanta, Topeka, and Englishtown to vault from ninth to second place in the world rankings. Now he’s hoping to keep his incredible streak alive as the NHRA tour begins a string of four straight national events this weekend at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
“I’ve always kind of liked when you race every weekend,” Coughlin said. “It’s tougher on the crew, for sure, and your margin for error narrows when you sometimes don’t have time to go back to your shop and reload between races. At the same time, you tend to get into a groove and focus on the task at hand without a lot of outside interference, so from a driver’s perspective it can be very advantageous.
“Certainly, it’s a lot more fun to have back-to-back races when you’re running well, and this last three-in-a-row stretch was just fantastic for us. The JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart found the winner’s circle twice and our teammate Allen Johnson put his Mopar hot rod on top in Topeka with us in the other lane, so as a team we can’t do any better.”
Coughlin knows this is a big race for Johnson and both crews as J&J Racing is located in nearby Greeneville, Tenn., placing an emphasis on turning in their best performance in front of Johnson’s hometown fans.
“There isn’t much we want to change on the cars,” said Coughlin, who actually is tied with Johnson for second place in the points. “Both of us are running really well. It’s more a matter of fine-tuning some little things that Adam Hornberger and Mark Ingersoll, our crew chiefs, want to do.
“This race will be a fun one for all of us as the guys will be close to home, so we’ll have lots of family and friends with us. That always makes it special, and of course you want to show off a little if you can. It won’t be easy — it never is — but we’ll be as prepared as possible to have a good weekend.”
Having won Bristol in 2007, Coughlin counts the track among one of his favorites, although for many more reasons than his personal success at the facility.
“Thunder Valley is just an awesome place,” he said. “It’s so picturesque and the noise rumbling around those hills when the cars are running is so cool. Bruton Smith knows how to do things in a first-class manner, and this is yet another one of his top-notch facilities.
“You have to love the Bristol fans as well. These folks know racing, all forms of it, and they appreciate what it takes to compete and make these cars go 215 mph. I hope to add some more great memories this year.”
Four rounds of Pro Stock qualifying will feature sessions at 5 and 7:30 p.m., Friday, and 12:30 and 3 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations are slated to start at 1 p.m., Sunday. Both qualifying and elimination action will be broadcast on ESPN2.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. hopes to use his incredible hot streak to score another win at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals with his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart.
Good fortune is coveted in the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, but reigning Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. is so impressed with his new JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart that he already feels as though he has hit the jackpot.
“I love this car,” Coughlin said. “I immediately felt extremely comfortable in the driver’s seat, the sight lines are better than what we had in the Avenger, and the stability at speed is great.
“We feel as though we already have the Dart at the point where the Avenger was when we won the championship last year. The difference is the upside potential is much larger. This car is a game changer.”
Coughlin’s first-ever quarter-mile pass with the car in NHRA competition, which occurred at the previous national event in Florida, produced a career-best elapsed time of 6.484 seconds. His second run raised his all-time top speed to 214.64 mph.
Even when temperatures rose on race day, Coughlin’s new ride delivered, as did the identical Dart of teammate Allen Johnson, who went on to win the event.
“The ability to make changes with this car is another thing that’s very encouraging,” Coughlin said. “Allen struggled in Round 2 in his win against Shane (Gray), and the guys were able to make some last-second adjustments to our car. It made a difference and we almost got away with it but ended up losing by five-thousandths of a second.
“By the time Allen got to the next round, even though he didn’t have lane choice, he was able to win because the car was perfect. That was a huge win for the team.”
Coughlin is one of the most prolific Pro Stock racers in the history of The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His five victories at Bruton Smith’s masterpiece in the North Las Vegas desert is second only to Greg Anderson’s seven wins.
“Any time you return to a track where you’ve had success there is a real level of comfort,” said Coughlin, who will also race in the special K&N Horsepower Challenge for the sport’s top eight Pro Stock racers. “But you can never overlook the fact that The Strip is a very strategic racetrack. You have to be very cognizant of what time of the day it is because the sun can really change the look of the Christmas Tree, even with the new LED bulbs.
“The crew also needs to monitor the conditions very closely. In the desert, you can have pretty significant fluctuations in the ambient temperatures, and the track temps will change in the morning and afternoon when the shadows shift around. You need to stay on your toes.
“But with this new Dart, we have the ability to fine-tune everything to exactly what we need, so the feeling heading into this race is very optimistic. I’m ready to go.”
Pro Stock qualifying will take place at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m., Friday, and 1:10 and 3:10 p.m., Saturday.
The K&N Horsepower Challenge also will take place Saturday, with the first two rounds taking place during qualifying and the final round at 4:45 p.m.
Eliminations for the national event begin at 11 a.m., Saturday.
Reigning Pro Stock world champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. looks to score a victory with his new JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. had visions of a Hollywood ending at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals this weekend at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. reached the second round in Gainesville with his new Dodge Dar
Coughlin debuted a new Dodge Dart for the Gators, and he recorded the best elapsed time of his career, 6.484 seconds at 214.59 mph, in qualifying No. 3. But instead of celebrating his 57th career victory, Coughlin was eliminated in the second round.
“Our fairytale weekend came to a close too soon,” Coughlin said.
Facing Vincent Nobile, Coughlin left first with a .015-second reaction time, but Nobile’s run of 6.580 seconds at 210.60 mph was able to edge Coughlin, who made a pass of 6.591 seconds at 211.69 mph.
“The car worked good first round, and I felt good hitting the Tree,” Coughlin said. “We left everything alone, pretty much, from my aspect behind the wheel and just tried to accommodate the car. We put some more bite into it for the second round, knowing the track was going to be warmer and a little bit greasier. The air was getting a little bit worse, and we wanted to make sure we got it from A to B.”
But the result wasn’t the same as his first-round victory over Rodger Brogdon.
“We just missed it a little bit,” Coughlin said. “It started shaking a little bit through low gear, and it pushed the car out to the right. I hit second gear, and it really started shaking a little bit more. I tried to get it into third, fourth, and fifth, and we fell short by five-thousandths.”
Conditions on Sunday were a little worse than the rest of the weekend, but Coughlin made a solid pass of 6.550 at 211.89 mph in round one to beat Brogdon, who made a run of 6.599 at 210.93 mph.
“Coming into the day, we knew it was going to be hotter, and we knew we were going to be following the fuel cars for the first time with this combination,” Coughlin said. “We felt like we had a good game plan and had things under control.”
But conditions, and Nobile, altered those plans.
“That was extremely disappointing, but we’ve got a long season ahead of us,” Coughlin said. “The guys have worked so hard that being a little disappointed shouldn’t mean much. They’ve worked extremely hard.
“We’ll look to Vegas now. We’ll restructure and see if we can’t pull off two wins in one race there.”
Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. and the JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge team will relish the feeling millions of Americans get to enjoy on a daily basis: Driving a new car.
Coughlin will debut a new Dodge at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals this weekend at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville. And while there may not be the new-car smell so many people get to breath in, Coughlin and his team are excited about the possibilities of their new race car.
Jeg Coughlin Jr.
“We completed the brand-new car since Phoenix,” Coughlin said. “We’re gong to pull the covers off of the car on Thursday, right before Gainesville starts. That’s extremely exciting for us. The new car seems extremely drivable, and it’s very responsive. It’s been very quick in the runs I’ve made with it.”
The new model will be introduced to the media on Thursday in a ceremony highlighting the 50th anniversary of the HEMI. Coughlin and teammate Allen Johnson will have some help during the unveiling from some very large friends who reside at Two Tails Ranch.
Fans will be able to see the new Dodge for the first time during Friday’s qualifying sessions.
“What do we expect?” Coughlin said. “We expect the unveiling to go off in trumpets, if you will, and we’ll have a little fun with that. I’m really excited to be part of an unveiling like this, with Chrysler, Mopar, Dodge, and JEGS.
“There’s been a lot of interest around our new body. What’s it going to be? What’s it going to look like? Come Thursday, that’s going to be revealed to the racing world.”
Coughlin and the team have tested the car extensively this week in Bradenton, Fla., and he doesn’t expect to skip a beat once the car hits the track in Gainesville.
“We look for the car to be very tuneable and to be very fast,” Coughlin said. “Without question, we want to try to get our first victory of the year and the first victory with the new body at the very first race.”
Defending NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. will begin his title defense from the No. 8 qualifying position with his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge for the Circle K NHRA Winternationals this weekend at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Coughlin, who secured his fifth Pro Stock title at this track last November, had a best lap of 6.531 seconds at 211.96 mph. He’ll square off against No. 9 qualifier Rodger Brogdon, whose top pass was 6.541 seconds at 211.79 mph, in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.
“Obviously, you always like to throw some good numbers up on the board,” Coughlin said. “You want to kick off game day in that fashion. We’ve been there and done it and look forward to tomorrow.”
Coughlin’s start to the 2014 campaign hasn’t exactly gone as planned for the JEGS team, as Coughlin struggled with the car in the second and fourth qualifying sessions. His pass of 6.541 seconds at 212.39 mph was third-quickest in Q1, but then he had to do a masterful job of driving to get the Avenger down the track in Q2.
In Q4, Coughlin aborted the run early.
“Our two runs where we weren’t too aggressive we went down the racetrack really well,” Coughlin said. “That last run, we felt like we wouldn’t have any issues going down the racetrack, and we were looking to pick up in the pack a little bit and have a good game day setup for tomorrow.
“We’re scratching our head a little bit now, but we’ve got a good brain trust here that will sort this out. And we’ve got another car (J&J Racing teammate Allen Johnson) to peek off of for data, so I’m not too worried.”
Part of that brain trust includes Adam Hornberger, who is serving as co-crew chief with Mark Ingersoll for the first time, and Coughlin is confident the car will be good for Sunday’s eliminations.
“We’re batting .500 here, so that part’s not real exciting,” Coughlin said. “We’ll sit in with the crew chiefs and see what they’ve got up their sleeve. I know they’re more than capable of making this car go down the racetrack, so it’s just a matter of getting the right focus.”