By Patrick Rall
This past weekend marked the first of six events that make up the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship and with a win in Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin has moved within 10 points of Mike Edwards in the battle for the 2013 championship. Over in the Funny Car class, Matt Hagan lost in the finals to Robert Hight but due to Hagan’s success throughout the season – he still holds a lead of 82 points over fellow Mopar racer Ron Capps.
In the Pro Stock class, the Dodge Avenger race cars had a much tougher start to the weekend with the best qualifying Dodge being Allen Johnson, who qualified 5th. Jeg Coughlin qualified 6th but was able to beat Greg Stanfield in round 1, Shane Grey in round 2 and Mike Edwards in round 3 to advance to the finals where he took on top qualifier Jason Line. Jeg was a bit slower than Line in the finals but thanks to a big starting line advantage, Coughlin was able to take the first win of the six race shootout for the championship.
Other Dodge drivers in the Pro Stock field included V Gaines (qualified 8th, lost in round 2), Allen Johnson (qualified 5th, lost in round 2) and Vincent Nobile (qualified 10th, lost in round 1). With the win, Jeg sits just 10 points behind class leader Mike Edwards.
Matt Hagan got off to a great start this past weekend in his Dodge Charger Funny Car, qualifying 2nd behind only Cruz Pedregon. Hagan beat Jeff Arend in round 1, John Force in round 2 and Jack Beckman in round 3 to advance to the finals where he would face Ford Mustang driver Robert Hight. After qualifying 8th, Hight was one of the faster cars throughout the day, turning in the quickest runs in each round leading up to the finals so it would be no easy task for Hagan and his Charger. Hagan broke that streak in the final round, running a 4.066 to Hight’s 4.083 but a big starting line advantage for the Mustang gave Robert Hight the Funny Car win.
Other Dodge drivers in the Funny Car field included Ron Capps (qualified 12th, lost in round 2), Jeff Arend (qualified 15th, lost in round 1 to Hagan), Johnny Gray (qualified 10th, lost in round 1) and Jack Beckman (qualified 11th, lost in round 3 to Hagan). On the year, Hagan leads the race for the championship with Capps 82 points back. Robert Hight sits third, 86 points back.
The drivers will be back in action this weekend at the Dallas Texas Motorplex.