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SOURCE Chrysler Group LLC
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., June 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Jeg Coughlin Jr. drove the JEGS.com Mopar Dodge Dart to victory at the 45th annual National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Summernationals in Englishtown, New Jersey, to earn his 58th career Pro Stock national title after reaching the final round of eliminations for a third consecutive event. The defending NHRA factory hot rod world champion has been on a tear, jumping from ninth place in the points standings to second with his two wins and a runner-up finish, combining with his teammate, Allen Johnson, to put the new Dodge Dart in the winner's circle at each of the last three events.
"These last three weekends have been a helluva hat trick for J&J Racing, winning all three races," said Coughlin who earned both his wins this season against Greg Anderson in the final round, this time with an elapsed time run of 6.510 seconds (213.94 mph). "I got Atlanta and Englishtown and A.J. won in Topeka, so we're on a great run."
"Congratulations to Jeg Coughlin Jr. on his drive to the winner's circle at the Summernationals to continue this fantastic streak of wins for the Dodge Dart and his second of the year," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group's service, parts and customer-care brand. "A third consecutive win for the Dodge Dart definitely helps validate all the hard work that the Mopar teams have put in with the new vehicle. We look forward to seeing what more Jeg and Allen can do with HEMI and new Dodge Dart combination in such a competitive Pro Stock field."
The win was hard fought after only five of the 16 Pro Stock qualifiers completed runs under full power in the opening round. Track conditions even claimed Mopar teammate and No.1 qualifier Johnson as a victim in his first round match-up against Chris McGaha, after previously resetting the track record two days in a row in qualifying with the Magneti Marelli Dodge Dart at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Fellow HEMI-powered driver V.Gaines also succumbed in the first round against Shane Gray. Coughlin also wasn't able to make a clean run but persevered to beat his first round opponent Kenny Delco to the stripe.
"That was a scare," Coughlin said. "Kenny's a hometown hero and I know they wanted to win. The track just wasn't there and neither of us managed to launch correctly. It was some violent shake and I had to let the car settle before I was able to get back on the gas and get down the track. Those moments seem to last forever.
"The guys worked on it, softened the launch sequence a touch, and we came back and ran a decent 6.586 against Shane Gray," Coughlin added. "We worked on it some more and really had a pass against Dave Connolly in a great side-by-side race (6.524 to 6.535 second e.t.) and that got us to the final. We had the kind of conditions that Pro Stock cars love today with a great barometer and not a cloud in the sky but you had to work for it."
Mopar teammates Coughlin and Johnson are currently tied for second (668) in the Pro Stock points race and have combined for five national titles for Mopar this season to date.
In Funny Car competition, after leading the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) contingent of Dodge Charger R/T entries with a fifth place spot on the eliminations ladder, Jack Beckman advanced to the semifinals round with consistent runs all weekend long. He beat Chad Head with a 4.067 second e.t. in the first round of eliminations, then won a holeshot against Mopar teammate Matt Hagan in the quarterfinals, before a mechanical issue ended his run in the semifinals against No. 1 qualifier and event winner Cruz Pedregon.
Tommy Johnson Jr. defeated DSR teammate Ron Capps in the first round before falling to eventual winner Pedregon.
Hagan took the Mopar Express Lane Dodge through a first round battle against John Force before falling just six-thousandths of a second short to Beckman at the line. Beckman (4.133 second e.t) beat him (4.121 sec e.t) with .073 to .091 seconds reaction time.
"We just need some things to fall our way and they haven't yet," Hagan said. "We'll take a week off, regroup and get ready for four in a row. It'll be a challenge but I know this team will be ready for it."
Mopar teams and drivers will have a one week break in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series action before heading to Bristol, Tenn., for the 14th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, June 13-15.
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