With the 2010 K&N Horsepower Challenge now in the books, the slate was wiped clean and the push is on again for each Pro Stock driver to do all they can to land one of the eight precious spots in the next season's shootout.
Jeg Coughlin wins Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk
2009 K&N Horsepower Challenge winner Jeg Coughlin
Points are earned for final qualifying standing only, at each NHRA National Event starting with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk through the event just before the shootout itself the following season.
In addition to garnering max K&N Horsepower Challenge points available during each NHRA event, event pole sitters also bank a $3,000 bonus check from K&N Engineering.
2009 Challenge winner Jeg Coughlin, who bowed out in the semi-finals of this season's K&N Horsepower Challenge, took full advantage of the cooler night time air during the second qualifying session on Friday, at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, when laid down the quickest pass of the weekend, a 6.592.
The second session of Pro Stock qualifying on Friday had been pushed back due to several drivers getting crossed up on the North Central Ohio track, including some in the Pro Stock class itself.
"It was one of those tricky runs, where the lighting at Norwalk is good but it's still kind of a dark atmosphere," said Coughlin of his Friday night pass. "By the time we ran, there also a little fog in the air, if you will and that made it even that much trickier."
"I heard Alan Reinhart say over the loud speaker that you can't afford to list on the night session, because that's where your best opportunity is to make your best qualifying pass," he continued. "And I think that's how some teams get into trouble."
When Coughlin lined up on the track for the pivotal session, he had all the faith in the world that his car was ready to make a good pass, possibly even into the fifty's.
"We were fortunate enough that when I let the clutch out, I obviously couldn't see very well but I could feel the car was going nice and straight," reflected Coughlin on his number one pass. "Once I cleared the last bump there around a thousand foot, the car was still accelerating and going perfectly straight."
"Our goal was to run a high fifty, as we felt like there was a fifty-eight or fifty-nice out there, maybe lower for [Mike] Edwards, should he have knocked one out of the park," he continued. "We were very happy to grab our second K&N Horsepower Challenge pole of the year. That was extremely exciting and a very good way to start off the 2011 season for the K&N Challenge."
Coughlin starts off the new K&N Horsepower Challenge season sitting at the top, but there is a whole year left for qualifying and the excitement is only just getting underway.
The NHRA Pro Stock competitors will enjoy their first weekend off, after four in a row, over the July Fourth Holiday weekend before heading out west for the three event "Western Swing". The "Swing" begins with the first event in Seattle, Washington, then on to Sonoma, California and wraps up with a stop in Morrison, Colorado, just outside Denver.
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