Win in All-Mopar Final Gives Coughlin NHRA Championship Lead

Oct 06, 2013, 22:49 ET from Chrysler Group LLC

READING, Pa., Oct. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Coughlin wins Pro Stock title at 29th annual Auto-Plus® NHRA Nationals to give Mopar the lead in NHRA "Countdown to the Championship"
  • Coughlin beats Mopar teammate Johnson on a holeshot by one-thousandths of a second
  • Johnson's runner-up finish puts him fourth in the championship standings, 73 points behind the new points leader
  • Hagan leaves Maple Grove Raceway with the 'Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar' Dodge Charger R/T second in Funny Car points

A dramatic finish in an all-Mopar final elimination Pro Stock showdown at the 29th annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals gave Jeg Coughlin Jr. the lead in the NHRA "Countdown to the Championship" with a title win over teammate Allen Johnson earned by just one-thousandths of a second on a holeshot. The Mopar Dodge Avenger driver scored his second win of the six-event playoff series, the fourth of the NHRA Mello Yello series season and the 56th national title of his career.

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"To come out with the points lead certainly feels fantastic, but we've got a lot of racing left," said Coughlin who took over the top spot with two nationals events remaining. "We'd love to say this thing is all but over, but there's a lot of racing left and we're looking forward to it. To get that win in such a huge final round, that was big for us."

To advance to the final, Coughlin defeated Larry Morgan, Shane Gray and Jason Line, and with his title win relegated the previous leader, Mike Edwards, to second place with a 45 point deficit.

"Everyone at Mopar is excited to see Jeg (Coughlin Jr.) earn his second win of the playoffs and the lead in the Countdown," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand. "All season long there has been a lot of hard work and effort to get the HEMI-powered Dodge entries in position to defend Mopar's Pro Stock championship. It's great to see Mopar performance rewarded with our two drivers battling it out in a final elimination and now have an advantage in points with just two race events left."

Coughlin had an impressive 0.004 second reaction time against Johnson's 0.033 seconds to beat the defending Pro Stock champ at the line by 0.0017 seconds.

"I saw my win light come on and that's when the celebration began," said Coughlin. "The J&J team did a heck of a job to get both our cars in the finals."

"It was a great match up and I had to dig deep but didn't quite get it done and I'm disappointed with myself," said Johnson who defeated Greg Stanfield, Erica Enders-Stevens and Greg Anderson on the way to facing his Mopar teammate. "We had a great car all weekend and I'm very proud of the job the Mopar Express Lane crew did with the car and engine. We'll have our work cut out for us to try to catch and beat Jeg (Coughlin Jr.) but we're going to give it all we've got.

Johnson posted an elapsed time of 6.588 seconds at 209.39 mph in his runner-up finish to Coughlin's 6.616 second at 208.75 mph pass. It was the third time this season that the two had met in a final elimination, with this edition serving as the tiebreaker in Coughlin's favor. Despite the loss, Johnson gained two positions in the standings this weekend, moving from sixth to fourth and is 73 points behind the new points leader. Heading into the final two events, he knows that the two Mopar entries won't be doing anything different than they have all year long even if they find themselves battling once again on track or for the championship.

"I'm very proud of this whole team because we worked together as a team, put a HEMI in the winner's circle and into the points lead and we're going to keep going after it."

In Funny Car action, Matt Hagan and his 'Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar' Dodge Charger R/T didn't quite have the kind of results at Maple Grove Raceway that he had hoped would keep him atop the standings where he had been since June after a win at the Englishtown, N.J., Summernationals.

Hagan saw any chance of doing so go up in tire smoke in a second round loss to his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps. As a result, the Mopar pilot ceded the championship lead to the eventual event winner, 15-time NHRA Champion John Force, who had a near perfect weekend posting his first career three second run and No.1 qualifier honours.

"It's just one of those deals," said a disappointed Hagan, who now sits 65 points behind the new leader. "We just have to keep working hard and this team always works hard. No matter what happens on race day it isn't for a lack of effort. I'm still proud of every one of my guys. These boys are working really hard to keep things moving forward and that's what we'll do going into Vegas."

Directly behind Hagan in Funny Car standings is defending NHRA Champ Jack Beckman, who came into race day seeded third, but lost the chance to advance in eliminations and the points with a first round loss to Alexis DeJoria.

After beating teammates Johnny Gray and Hagan in the first two rounds, Capps was the lone Mopar left to halt Force's gains in the championship battle with a semifinal match up. Capps fell short when he lost traction on his run but remains sixth in points while Gray trails in eighth spot.

Mopar drivers and teams will continue the fight to defend two NHRA World Championships in three weeks at 13th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas, Nev., for the fourth of six playoff events in the NHRA Mello Yello Series "Countdown to the Championship."

2013 NHRA "Countdown to Championship" Points Standings
(following the AutoPlus Nationals in Reading)

PRO STOCK (season wins in parentheses)
1. Jeg Coughlin Jr. (4) - Dodge Avenger – 2433
2. Mike Edwards (6) – 2388
3. Jason Line (2) – 2383
4. Allen Johnson (4) - Dodge Avenger – 2360
5. Erica Enders-Stevens (2) –2319
6. Shane Gray – 2313
7. Greg Anderson – 2260
8. V. Gaines - Dodge Avenger – 2219
9. Vincent Nobile (3) - Dodge Avenger – 2215
10. Rodger Brogdon (1) – 2083

FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1. John Force (2) – 2457
2. Matt Hagan (4) - Dodge Charger R/T – 2392
3. Jack Beckman - Dodge Charger R/T – 2331
4. Robert Hight (2) – 2323
5. Cruz Pedregon (4) – 2307
6. Ron Capps (3) - Dodge Charger R/T – 2297
7. Courtney Force (2) – 2266
8. Johnny Gray (4) - Dodge Charger R/T – 2223
9. Del Worsham – 2214
10. Tim Wilkerson – 2175

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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