GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 18) — For the second race in a row, five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. squared off against reigning titlist Bo Butner in the first round of eliminations. But unlike a few weeks ago when Coughlin used a holeshot to beat the higher-qualified Butner, on this occasion Coughlin’s better start wasn’t quite enough to advance the JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro.
“Not quite enough to get it done this time and certainly Bo didn’t leave us much room,” Coughlin said. “We seemed to be behind the eight-ball all weekend. The first three runs in qualifying were not complete runs and even though Q4 was a big improvement we were still chasing it a little today.”
Just as he did in Phoenix, Coughlin left well ahead of Butner, posting a .012-second reaction time ahead of Butner’s .028-second launch. A quick chase was on from there and Butner was able to catch and pass Coughlin, winning with a 6.573 at 210.54 mph to Coughlin’s 6.602 at 207.34 mph.
“When you run teams the caliber of Bo Butner’s group you have to be especially sharp and have everything in order,” Coughlin said. “We are just a touch off and although we gave him a race, we ultimately didn’t have enough.
“There’s lots to be optimistic about and we are certainly anxious to take the next step in Las Vegas. That’s a huge race for Pro Stock as we have the K&N Horsepower Challenge in addition to the regular race. That gives us two chances to win and we’d love to sweep the event and set the season off in a better direction.”
After qualifying No. 3 with a 6.018 at 228.19 mph in his JEGS.com Top Dragster, Mike Coughlin suffered an unexpected early exit when he broke out of his posted 6.13-second index by -.007 in a second-round race against Mike Gurliaccio. Coughlin advanced to the second session after receiving a bye run in Round 1, where he ran a 6.118 at 221.85 mph.
In his first race in the Top Alcohol Dragster class, Troy Coughlin Jr. reached the quarterfinals before severe tire shake ended his race against James Stevens, who went straight down the groove and posted a 5.284 at 272.12 mph. Troy Jr. opened eliminations with a win over veteran Jackie Fricke. He left first and cruised to a 5.334-second pass at 271.13 mph against Fricke’s 5.521 at 248.34 mph.
Eliminations will air on FOX Sports 1 from 7-10 p.m. ET, Sunday.