Coughlin Gives Mopar Win at Carolina Nationals and Closes Gap to the Leader in NHRA's 'Countdown to Championship'

Sep 16, 2013, 10:00 ET from Chrysler Group LLC

CONCORD, N.C., Sept. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Mopar's Coughlin wins 6th annual Carlyle Tools Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway and first NHRA event in the 'Countdown to the Championship"
  • Second seed Hagan drives Mopar machine to runner-up finish and maintains championship lead
  • Coughlin moves Mopar into second place in Pro Stock championship points standing; just 10 points from the leader

Mopar driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. earned a hard fought Pro Stock title win at the 6th annual Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals while Matt Hagan drove his Mopar machine to a runner-up finish to maintain his lead in the Funny Car class following the conclusion of the first of six playoff events in the 2013 edition of the NHRA "Countdown to the Championship".


Coughlin's third win of the season and the 55th in his career came by defeating No.1 qualifier Jason Line in final eliminations after dispatching Greg Stanfield, Shane Gray, and points leader Mike Edwards in the semis. The Dodge Avenger driver won the final showdown on a holeshot with a 0.026-second reaction time and 6.583 seconds (210.05 mph) elapsed time pass to Line's run of 6.578 (210.97 mph).

"The entire Mopar J&J crew and the entire crew did a fantastic job I had just a phenomenal racecar in all eight runs," Coughlin said. "It wasn't the fastest car but by god it was real close. You just have to go out there and perform the best you can and fortunately I was able to steal a couple (of seconds) off the starting line and put the yellow and black Dodge Avenger right out front. It takes a family of effort to pull this off and we love getting our first victory [of the countdown] here in Charlotte."

"All of us at Mopar are thrilled to see Jeg (Coughlin Jr.) earn his third win of the year and get the playoffs started on such a great note at the Carolina Nationals," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand. "His wins reinforce the strong efforts and steady improvements that have been made throughout the season to the HEMI®-powered Dodge entries through the partnership with Mopar and J&J Racing this season. It's a fantastic way to start the Countdown."

The victory propelled Coughlin into second place in the standings, just ten points from the leader, and past his Mopar teammate and defending world champion Allen Johnson who dropped down to fourth. Line sits between them in third spot on the merits of his runner-up finish.

"The parity isn't really what any of us had in mind," said Coughlin of how close the Pro Stock competition has been. "I think the top ten cars are separated by two hundredths of a second and that's great. It gives our fans great side-by-side racing and that's what they love to see."

"With five races remaining now in the Countdown, every point counts," Coughlin added. "We are looking at every point we can get. It's game time. This is the Countdown. This is the excitement of Mello Yello Drag Racing."

While Johnson posted the low e.t (6.558) of the first round for the win against Larry Morgan, the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger driver posted a 6.567-second e.t. (211.16mph) in his next match up against Erica Enders (6.586 / 209.36) only to lose on a holeshot with a 0.060 to 0.029-second reaction time. HEMI-powered teammate Vincent Nobile lost his first round match-up to Line, who then defeated the other Mopar of V. Gaines in the second round. Nobile and Gaines are now sixth and ninth, respectively, in the points standings.

In Funny Car action, seeded second for the elimination rounds after a three-second run in Friday night qualifying, Hagan drove his "Magneti Marelli Quality Auto Parts Offered by Mopar" / Rocky Boots race car to his team's eighth final round appearance of the year. The Don Schumacher Racing driver beat Jeff Arend, John Force and his Mopar teammate and defending world champion Jack Beckman on his way to the final.

With the confidence of four wins under his belt this season, Hagan staged his Dodge Charger R/T against Robert Hight. With the starting line advantage going to Hight with a 0.055-second reaction time to Hagan's 0.074, the Mopar driver chased down his opponent posting a 4.066 second (313.58 mph) elapsed time run to the winner's 4.083 (312.64 mph)pass.

"The end result was a holeshot loss and when you lose that way the driver has to own it," Hagan said. "It's tough because you have to come back and face the guys and you want to give them everything you have and not be the weak link and I was today. I have to go back and work hard and dig deep and keep trying to turn on win lights."

The good news is that Hagan extended his first place standing in the Funny Car championship with an 82 point lead over his DSR Mopar teammate Ron Capps who only made it to the second round of eliminations. Jack Beckman jumped up into fourth spot in the points by advancing to the semifinals before his Mopar teammate, Hagan, halted his progress. Fellow Mopar driver Johnny Gray saw his day come to a premature end with a first round loss to John Force to find himself seventh in the standings.

Mopar teams and drivers now prepare for head west to Dallas, Texas, for the second of six-playoff events in the NHRA "Countdown to the Championship", and second of four in a row, at the 28th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex on Sept. 19-22.

2013 NHRA "Countdown to Championship" Points Standings
(Following Race Final at Carolina Nationals)

PRO STOCK (season wins in parentheses)

  1. Mike Edwards (6) – 2194
  2. Jeg Coughlin Jr. (3) - Dodge Avenger – 2184
  3. Jason Line (1) – 2147
  4. Allen Johnson (4) - Dodge Avenger – 2134
  5. Shane Gray – 2110
  6. Vincent Nobile (3) - Dodge Avenger – 2095
  7. Erica Enders-Stevens (1) –2085
  8. Greg Anderson – 2083
  9. V. Gaines - Dodge Avenger – 2074
  10. Rodger Brogdon (1) – 2031

FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)

  1. Matt Hagan (4) - Dodge Charger R/T – 2214
  2. Ron Capps (3) - Dodge Charger R/T – 2132
  3. Robert Hight (2) – 2128
  4. Jack Beckman - Dodge Charger R/T – 2122
  5. John Force (1) – 2116
  6. Courtney Force (2) – 2106
  7. Johnny Gray (4) - Dodge Charger R/T – 2102
  8. Cruz Pedregon (3) – 2101
  9. Tim Wilkerson – 2057
  10. Del Worsham – 2037

About Mopar Motorsports
Mopar's commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer Don Garlits, resulting in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in HEMI®-powered vehicles over the next several decades. In 2013, Mopar looks to defend its two NHRA 2012 World Championship titles in Pro Stock and Funny Car categories, and celebrates 25 consecutive years as title sponsor of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Colorado. While Mopar remains involved in a various professional motorsports series, it continues to honor its roots by being a proud supporter of amateur racing within the NHRA with its sponsorship of the HEMI Challenge and Mopar Sportsman Cup.

Mopar Brand
Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand and distributes 280,000 parts and accessories. With the creation of the industrial alliance between Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A., Mopar is extending its global reach, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar's global portfolio includes more than 500,000 parts and accessories that are distributed in more than 130 markets. Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for Chrysler Group brands as well as Fiat brands.

Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler Group and Fiat vehicles – a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at

Mopar-first Features
Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:

  • Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with customers
  • Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format. First to offer complete vehicle-information kits in Spanish
  • Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
  • Wireless charging: first to introduce in-vehicle wireless charging for portable devices
  • Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
  • wiAdvisor: first to provide factory-connected tablet technology in the service lane for instant vehicle diagnosis
  • wiTech: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
  • 2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car

More than 75 Years of Mopar
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words Motor and PARts) was trademarked for antifreeze product in 1937. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s – the muscle-car era. The former Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth "package cars" equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of "special parts" for super-stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use. The brand has expanded to include technical service and customer support.

About Magneti Marelli
Based in Italy (Corbetta, Milan), Magneti Marelli was established in 1919. The company is a subsidiary of Fiat Group and has a presence and reputation in racing, including Formula 1 and World Rally Championship (WRC) and now the NHRA. With 2012 revenues of $7,5 billion and approximately 36,900 employees, Magneti Marelli designs and produces advanced automotive systems and components. The company has 83 production facilities, 12 research and development centers and 26 application centers in 19 countries. The group supplies leading automakers in Europe, North America, South America and the Far East. Magneti Marelli USA coordinates the activities of all Magneti Marelli divisions in the NAFTA region from its North American headquarters, located in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Magneti Marelli has established a significant presence in the world of aftermarket and service networks in the US, thanks to the partnership with MOPAR

Mopar Express Lane Service
Mopar Express Lane service, offered at participating Chrysler Group dealerships, provides a dedicated service lane for fast oil changes, and much more, in order to maximize customer convenience for all make and model vehicles. Available services include oil and filter changes, multi-point vehicle checkup, tire rotation with brake inspection, air and cabin filter replacement, wiper blade replacement, headlight and light bulb replacement and battery testing. Mopar Express Lane service is a consumer's best choice for vehicle maintenance, with highly-skilled Chrysler Group dealership technicians ready to get to work and get you back on the road in no time. No appointments. No waiting. No worries.

SOURCE Chrysler Group LLC