Coughlin hits speed bump in Gainesville, suffers rare DNQ
When he started his own Pro Stock team, Jeg Coughlin Jr. knew there would be weekends when the JEGS.com / Mopar Dodge Avenger would struggle and this weekend at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals was one of those weekends.
"We were hoping those times were behind us," Coughlin said. "We thought we had good performance in Pomona and Phoenix. We thought we'd be a little better from the car management side. I'm having to manhandle the car a little bit right now and that's no fun.
"We felt like we made more horsepower from Phoenix to this point, but it doesn't show it on the boards."
Coughlin did not make the 16-car elimination field on Saturday. His 6.597 second lap at 210.24 mph was only good enough for 19th overall. The bump spot for the race was a 6.555 at 210.83 mph.
"We're just struggling to get the car to move early in the run," Coughlin said. "We're giving it a valiant effort here and we've got the tools to get this car in the field."
Looking at the bigger picture, Coughlin sees this weekend as merely a temporary setback.
"We've had our ups and downs during our career," Coughlin said. "After setbacks like this, we've had a habit of coming back pretty darn strong.
"We're not going to leave any stone unturned between now and the next race. I can assure you that. Our goal is to get the car more efficient and run a more consistent 60 foot time for us."
In his Sportsman racing efforts in Gainesville, Coughlin drove his JEGS.com Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to the fourth round in Stock Eliminator.
"We did pretty well and made it about halfway through the field," Coughlin said. "I was really happy with it. I think it's got one minor glitch in it that we can work out before bring it out again.
"It was real fun to drive – especially the wheel stands. We just came up on the wrong end of a good run in E4."
That run was against Chris Stephenson.
"I was intending to get to the finish line first, got out of the throttle and got beat by .005 seconds," he said. "It's a judgment error that happens in that style of racing. We both had really good runs and the win light came on in his lane."
Coughlin's wife and Team JEGS member, Samantha, picked up two round victories in Super Comp before bowing out to Frank Aragona, who cut a .003 second light and won by about seven feet in a double breakout run.
"It's a great start to the season," she said. "After winning against the good competitors I faced in the first and second round, I thought no matter what happens after that, I've had a good weekend.
"I drove really good the first and second round, and had a little bit of a brain freeze in the third. That's why I love drag racing, it's a challenge and you are never going to be perfect, no matter how hard you try."