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Coughlin clinches Championship; loses to Johnson

by Bill Cawthon on

Jeg Coughlin knew he was the 2013 Mello Yello Pro Stock World Champion before he staged for his run against teammate Allen Johnson. In the second race of the quarterfinals, Jason Line, the only remaining serious competitor for the title, had trouble right at the start and and got shut down by Buddy Perkinson.

It’s a good thing Line was eliminated because the marquee matchup between Coughin and Johnson was over before it started. Coughlin was too eager and jumped the gun by 0.001 second, turning on the red light and giving Johnson a free pass to the semifinals where he faces Kurt Johnson.

“This championship is extremely special without question. When I stepped away after the 2010 season, I wasn’t sure how long it would before I would return,” said a victorious Coughlin. “Fortunately we were able to make a deal with Mopar for 2011. The results of that season were not what we hoped for, but after getting together with Roy and Allen Johnson at J&J Racing, we had the ingredients we needed for a title. A.J. has a great team with Mark Ingersoll, Jim Yates, and the rest of the crew. We were in eight finals this year, and got half of them, which is sensational because Pro Stock has become so tough. This was the tightest and one of the most intense championship races I’ve ever been involved with, and it certainly ranks right up there with the previous titles.

“When I saw that I was going to run my teammate Vincent Nobile in the first round, I thought, ‘Oh man, here we go again,’ because he’s certainly had my number this year [with four wins against Coughlin in six races], and he beat me in all three of the finals we ran against each other. But it was actually a good thing that it happened because it made me come up there with my ‘A’ game. We certainly wanted to win the second round [against A.J.], but that was right after the title was clinched and maybe I was a little bit too relaxed.

“We’ll certainly be celebrating at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series banquet on Monday night, and then we’ll head home and begin making our plans for next year.”

In Funny Car, Matt Hagan and Gary Densham are headed to the semifinals. Hagan eliminated Johnny Gray and Densham outran Ron Capps in the quarterfinals while 2013 Funny Car World Champion John Force eliminated Jeff Arend. Hagan faces Cruz Pedregon while Densham is facing Force in the semifinals.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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