No. 4 Qualifier Coughlin Leads Three Mopar Dodge Darts into Topeka Elimination Rounds
Jeg Coughlin Jr. will defend his 2013 NHRA Kansas Nationals title from the No. 4 spot and seek his second straight Pro Stock win of the season
“Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart driver Allen Johnson and Dodge Dart pilot V. Gaines will also start in the top half of the Pro Stock field at Topeka
In NHRA Funny Car, Matt Hagan leads the Mopar contingent with the fourth starting position in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T
Auburn Hills, Mich. (Saturday, May 24) – Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Dart driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. will look to keep a pair of streaks alive when he starts from the No. 4 spot in eliminations tomorrow at the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. Coughlin will seek to defend his 2013 event win at Topeka, and will also attempt to double up following his victory earlier this week in the rain-delayed NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing event in Atlanta.
Inclement weather also played a role in Friday qualifying at Topeka, with the Pro categories limited to just one qualifying attempt. Coughlin made the most of that single session, recording his quickest qualifying effort with a 6.618-second elapsed time, at 208.65 mph. After more wet weather, the defending Pro Stock series champ added runs of 6.627/207.53 and 6.624/207.53 in his final two qualifying attempts on Saturday. Coughlin draws Rodger Brogdon to begin eliminations tomorrow.
“Coming off a hot win in Atlanta was amazing,” Coughlin said. “The timing of that win was great. We struggled a little bit through qualifying there, and this week has been a bit of a flip from that. We’ve been real consistent through qualifying.”
Allen Johnson, Coughlin’s Johnson & Johnson Racing stable mate, saved the best for last, driving his “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” to its quickest qualifying run of the weekend on his final attempt with a 6.620 ET to move up to the sixth position. Johnson will face Larry Morgan in round one tomorrow. Fellow Dodge Dart pilot V. Gaines earned the seventh slot on the starting grid thanks to a 6.621 run and meets Greg Anderson in the opening round.
“We got our best run of the weekend on the last pass today, so that’s encouraging,” said Johnson, the 2012 Topeka event champ. “With Jeg in the top half at No. 4, and V. as well, we’ve got a great chance to keep the Topeka trophy in the Mopar camp.”
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T racer Matt Hagan led the four-driver Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) NHRA Funny Car squad, taking the fourth spot in qualifying with a best ET of 4.064, setting up a first-round battle with Chad Head. Hagan’s Mopar-fueled DSR teammates clocked in a bit further back in the pack, with Jack Beckman closest in the No. 9 spot thanks to a 4.081 pass. Beckman will square off with another Dodge Charger, steered by No. 8 starter Jeff Arend. Ron Capps, No. 10 with a 4.095, will line up against Del Worsham, and No. 12 starter Tommy Johnson Jr. (4.116) faces Alexis DeJoria.
“This is only our eighth race of the year and there are still 10 more before the Countdown to the Championship, but we don’t like being ninth and plan to start moving up,” Hagan said. “Most important to us right now is to win rounds on Sunday and leave here with that Wally (trophy).”