Race Weekend Central

Nitro Shots: What Is There To Say?

Sometimes this is the hardest part of this article to write. That doesn’t seem like it should be the case, since this commentary portion can be about anything, but that also means coming up with an idea. This is one of those weeks. It was an off-weekend last week so there isn’t anything coming out of a race weekend. News is fairly light.

There’s the new television package perhaps. After some initial bumps in the road, things seem to be smoothing out. The statistical graphics have been on point. Pacing is still a frequent complaint, however that’s more a product of trying to do live shows than it is FOX’s fault. NHRA’s new All Access package resolves, for a fee, the issues of those who do not get FOX Sports channels.

There’s the new Pro Stock package. Some drivers are still struggling, others are making great progress with it. Times are getting progressively faster. Overall, the changeover to EFI has gone pretty well.

Some teams have gotten off to a rough start, others came out of the box strong, but that’s not anything unusual. It’s a long season and anything can still happen. Unless there’s some elephant in the room that I’m not seeing, there’s really nothing at the moment that needs to be addressed. Sometimes having nothing to say is really a good thing.

What’s News?

NHRA announced on Monday that Chief Starter Mark Lyle passed away suddenly on Sunday, March 27. Lyle had served in this role since 2012 and was only the third Chief Starter in NHRA history.

Division 6 starter Mike Gittings will serve as the NHRA interim Chief Starter for the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas this week.

* Jeg Coughlin Jr. has won the fan vote for the K&N Horsepower Challenge and will run in the Pro Stock all-star event this weekend in Las Vegas as the No. 8 seed. That position means he will take on No. 1 seed Greg Anderson in the first round. The K&N Horsepower Challenge will run as an event within an event this weekend and will be televised on FOX Sports 1.

Driver Profile: Jeg Coughlin, Jr.

NHRA 2016 Jeg Coughlin head shot courtesy NHRA media

Category: Pro Stock
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Date of Birth: June 23, 1970
2016 car: Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar/Elite Performance/JEGS.com Dodge Dart GT
Crew Chief: Rick Jones/Rickie Jones/Mark Ingersoll/Brian Self
Team Owner: Richard Freeman

Career Highlights:
Career wins/runner-up finishes: 58/42
Best points finish: 1st in 2000, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2013
Career best ET: 6.484, Gainesville, 2014
Career best speed: 214.62, Gainesville, 2014

2015 – Retired from full-time Pro Stock competition and competed in only three events; won in Stock Eliminator while running a limited Sportsman schedule and became the first driver in NHRA history with wins in seven different classes.

2013 – Won fifth Mello Yello Series world championship; won four races.

2009 – Won K&N Horsepower Challenge for second time. Won U.S. Nationals for the third time.

2008 – Won fourth Pro Stock world championship.

2007 – Won third Pro Stock world championship in return to class after taking most of 2006 off.

2002 – Won eight of the final 12 events on the schedule en route to second NHRA Pro Stock world championship.

2000 – Won 10 events; won first Pro Stock world championship.

1999 – Won five races; won K&N Horsepower Challenge; finished second in points.

1998 – Won rookie of the year honors; second in points.

1997 – Made first Pro Stock start at Dallas 2; became first driver to race in four categories in one season by also running in Super Stock, Competition Eliminator, and Super Gas

Follow Jeg: On Twitter @TeamJEGS, on Facebook at JEGS Performance, on Instagram @jegsperformance

Hey Y’all, Watch This!

Consider this my tribute to Mark Lyle. One of my favorite parts of this epic staging battle has always been at about a minute into the standoff (about 1:30 into this clip) when Lyle just looks at his watch and keeps on standing there. Eventually he might have had to step in but at that point, he was going to leave it up to the competitors, veterans Allen Johnson and Larry Morgan, to figure out who was going to blink first.

Word of the Week: Pedalfest

This is a term that has come up a few times on recent race broadcasts. Indeed, it’s a sure bet you’ll see at least one of these on race day, usually more. When a driver has difficulty getting traction and spins the tires, they will let out of the throttle to allow the car to grip and then get back on it again. That’s called pedaling. When both drivers end up in this situation, each trying to get their car to the finish line, it’s referred to as a pedalfest. For a great example of a pedalfest, see the video below.


After a weekend off, the NHRA Mello Yello Series returns to action this week for the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. Pro Stock drivers will also contest the K&N Horsepower Challenge which will be part of the broadcast.

QualifyingFriday, November 10, 6:30 PM ETFS1 (Live)
QualifyingSaturday, November 11, 6:00 PM ETFS1 (Live)
EliminationsSunday, November 12, 4:00 PM ETFS1 (Live)

About the author

A writer for Frontstretch since 2002, and editor since 2006, Toni heads up the NHRA coverage for the site. She’s responsible for post-race coverage in the weekly Pace Laps multi-series round-up along with the weekly Nitro Shots column featuring news and features from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. An award-winning former writer for the Presbyterian Church, Toni works in web design and freelances with writing in North Carolina.

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