Early exit in Seattle

By Ben Stroup

August 4, 2014

Reigning NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. and his team left Seattle scratching their heads Sunday … and a second-round loss at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals was to blame.

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

He nabbed the No. 4 seed after a steady qualifying round, and looked poised to pick up several round wins after cruising past Larry Morgan in the opener, but all hopes of advancing further ended when the tires shook and the parachutes popped early during his second-round showdown against Greg Anderson.

“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 race tracks, up and down cold race tracks, good air, bad air, it hadn’t really mattered.”

Coughlin’s 6.565-second pass at 210.67 mph was more than enough to outrun Morgan’s effort of 6.646 at 208.17 early on. It would have been good enough to get past Anderson in the second, too, but the chutes proved problematic. Anderson won with a 6.571-second pass at 211.3o while Coughlin crept to the finish line with a 12.185-second pass at 54.52 mph.

The result was puzzling, but Coughlin is confident that his team and crew chiefs Adam Hornberger and Mark Ingersoll will get his Dodge’s tuneup 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.”

Despite the showing, Coughlin is still in decent shape in the standings. He’s won twice this season in four final-round appearances and leaves Seattle in fourth place.

“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.” contributed to this report.