Keep up with this weekend's Pontiac Pro Stock Super Bowl at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by reading our behind-the-scenes event notebook. We bring you the stories behind the numbers and win-lights throughout the course of the weekend. Tune in daily for the latest news from the pits.

SATURDAY FINAL RESULTS - Coughlin wins Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown at The Strip at LVMS

David Allio Photos
Jeg Coughlin, Jr. started the 2008 season the way we ended 2007.

Jeg Coughlin Jr. of Mooresville, N.C., won the third annual Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway today.  Coughlin, in the left lane, defeated Allen Johnson of Greenville, Tenn., 6.711 sec./204.94 mph to 6.735 sec./203.92 mph.

“We haven’t tested all season,” said Coughlin. “We came out Thursday, made two runs and we were the fastest car.”
Allen Johnson cut a strong pathway to the finals.
Coughlin’s qualifying run on Friday afternoon was the quickest and fastest pass in Pro Stock history at The Strip at LVMS (6.687 sec./206.16 mph).
“The track was a bit warmer today – all it needed was some heat,” Coughlin explained. “They did a great job preparing the track.
“We felt like our performance in two of the rounds today was not what we thought it should be, but the win light kept coming on. We did everything we could to keep the Dodges out of victory lane. This is pretty exciting.”

Jim Yates quickly became a fan favorite with his colorful Pontiac GXP.

Round 1

V. Gaines, Lakewood CO, '08 Stratus, Right lane, (0.025) 6.759 202.61 def. Mike Edwards, Coweta OK,
'06 GTO, (0.057) 6.761 202.91
Greg Stanfield, Bossier City LA, '08 GXP, Left lane, (0.021) 6.748 203.61 def. Jason Line, Mooresville NC, '06 GTO, (0.020) 12.618 67.93
Ron Krisher, Warren OH, '08 Cobalt, Left lane, (0.083) 6.748 203.52 def. Tom Hammonds, Holt FL, '08 Cobalt, (0.051) 6.802 203.22
Allen Johnson, Greeneville TN, '08 Stratus, Left lane, (0.018) 6.735 203.74 def. Justin Humphreys, Monrovia MD, '06 GTO, (0.038) 6.770 204.26
Greg Anderson, Mooresville NC, '08 GXP, Left lane, (0.021) 6.709 205.54 def. Bill Glidden, Whiteland IN, '06 GTO, (0.023) 6.808 202.85
Kurt Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '08 Cobalt, Left lane, (0.003) 6.697 205.66 def. Jim Yates, Occoquan VA, '08 GXP, (0.055) 6.784 202.42
Matt Hartford, Phoenix AZ, '07 Stratus, Right lane, (0.058) 6.771 203.49 def. Warren Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '06 GTO, (0.112) 6.756 205.10
Jeg Coughlin, Mooresville NC, '08 Cobalt, Left lane, (0.064) 6.724 205.32 def. Vinnie Deceglie, Rancho Cucamunga CA, '08 Stratus, (0.436) 7.331 150.90

Greg Stanfield flexed his muscles en route to the semi-finals. This is a new look and new alignment with Kenny Koretsky for 2008.

Round 2
A Johnson, Left lane, (0.083) 6.739 204.32 def. M Hartford, (0.079) 6.762 203.77
J Coughlin, Left lane, (0.004) 6.725 205.32 def. V Gaines, (0.005) 6.745 203.80
G Anderson, Left lane, (0.035) 6.723 205.29 def. R Krisher, (-0.002 foul) 10.389 85.81
G Stanfield, Right lane, (0.029) 6.757 203.92 def. K Johnson, (0.052) 6.742 206.04

Round 3
A Johnson, Left lane, (0.018) 6.736 203.52 def. G Stanfield, (0.019) 6.746 204.63
J Coughlin, Right lane, (0.005) 6.730 204.66 def. G Anderson, (0.035) 6.715 205.16

Round 4 (Final):
J Coughlin, Left lane, (0.016) 6.711 204.94 def. A Johnson, (0.070) 6.735 203.92
Low ET:    Jeg Coughlin 6.685 seconds
Top Speed: Warren Johnson 206.23 MPH

Greg Anderson continues to break in a new Pontiac GXP.

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Round 3 winners at the Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor included Team Chevy driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. who defeated Pontiac GXP driver Greg Anderson on a holeshot. Anderson's 6.715 e.t. was the quickest of the session, but Coughlin's Cobalt edged out Anderson at the finish line by .015 of a second.

Johnson and Stanfield left within .001 of one another, but a 6.736 e.t. from the Mopar driver assured him the victory by .01. 

Coughlin has lane choice over Allen Johnson in the final.




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Round 2 winners at the Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor included Pontiac GXP drivers Greg Anderson and Greg Stanfield, and Team Chevy driver Jeg Coughlin Jr.. Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac GXP posted the quickest e.t. of the session at 6.723 seconds with a speed of 205.29 mph. Coughlin's Chevy Cobalt posted the second quickest e.t. of round two with a 6.725 second lap at 205.32 mph. Anderson's Pontiac has lane choice over Coughlin's Cobalt in Round 3. Greg Stanfield will race Allen Johnson. Allen Johnson has lane choice.



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Round 1 winners at the Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor included Team Chevy drivers Jeg Coughlin Jr., Ron Krisher and Kurt Johnson. Pontiac GXP winners included Greg Anderson and Greg Stanfield. Low e.t. and top speed of the session were set by ACDelco Chevy Cobalt driver Kurt Johnson - 6.697 seconds/205.66 mph. Anderson's 6.709 second run was the second quickest of the session and the best so far this weekend by a Pontiac GXP.

Round 2 - Coughlin will race V. Gaines; Krisher will race Anderson; K. Johnson will race Stanfield; Hartford will race A. Johnson.


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FRIDAY RECAP - Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown Kicks Off at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

David Allio Photos

Kurt Johnson posted the low elapsed time and top speed of the day, driving his ACDelco Cobalt to the provisional pole with a 6.687 e.t. at 206.16 mph.
Qualifying for the third annual Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown got underway today at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with three rounds of time trials. One round of qualifying still remains to be completed on Saturday before the field is set for the 16-car eliminator.

Team Chevy's Kurt Johnson posted the low elapsed time and top speed of the day, driving his ACDelco Cobalt to the provisional pole with a 6.687 e.t. at 206.16 mph.  Parked in the No. 2 position is Jeg Coughlin Jr. who drove his Chevy Cobalt to a 6.701 second run at 205.44 mph, and Ron Krisher is No. 3 in the Valvoline Chevy Cobalt with a 6.711 e.t. at 204.23 mph.

Ron Krisher is the second quickest in his second season with Victor Cagnazzi horsepower.
"It pumps us up when you can run a number like that," Johnson said. "We didn't have the opportunity to test when we wanted to under decent conditions all winter, and that shows that we paid attention to what we were doing and what we had to get done. We worked on this ACDelco Chevy Cobalt for 10 weeks straight, went over the car with a fine-toothed comb and kind of set it up the way we figured it needed to be. You never know. The first run this morning, the practice run, you just want to let the clutch out at least once and see if it's going to go right or left. This Cobalt went straight down the boulevard. We were real pleased. That's what it's all about."

Summit Racing's Greg Anderson is driving one of the new Pontiac GXPs this weekend and he's currently qualified in the No. 4 spot with a 6.720 e.t. at 205.51 mph.

Greg Anderson is breaking in his new Pontiac GXP this weekend.
"We really haven't given this Pontiac GXP a fair chance yet," Anderson said. "The first run we didn't have enough clutch in the car and we had to abort - that certainly wasn't the car's fault. The second run, we got closer but there still wasn't enough clutch in the car, and the third run we got even closer, yet. This new GXP wants to run, we're just not letting it. The car's fine though, and when it asks for more clutch, that's a good thing. We like that, but we're shocked that we have to feed it that much. We'll feed the monster and see what she'll run.

Jeg Coughlin, Jr. begins his title-defense season with this warm-up. He's currently the second quickest.
"It's very cool our here, and without a doubt we probably won't see this next week in California. But you have to race the track you're on and master it. We're not close yet, but maybe after a couple of more laps, we'll get closer and then we'll worry about Pomona when we get there. This is certainly an extreme in terms of weather and air conditions, without a doubt, but we have to figure it out."


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Friday Round Three Qualifying



Alan Johnson is showing off a new look for 2008 this weekend.


Friday Round Two Qualifying



Jason Line is testing in hopes of another 2006-like season.

Friday Round One Qualifying 



Warren Johnson burns out in Friday qualifying/testing.


Warren Johnson isn't a fan of the NFL Super Bowl, but the drag racing version gets him fired up.
NOT A FOOTBALL FAN - Warren Johnson has admitted minor interest in the National Football League’s Super Bowl extravaganza this weekend. But, the Pontiac Pro Stock Super Bowl – that’s another story.

Among those heading to the Entertainment Capital of the World will be GM Performance Parts Pontiac racer Warren Johnson.  However, he will have little interest in the NFL’s title match, including whether the Patriots complete their perfect season or the Giants score what many see as an improbable upset. 

This event, essentially the final tune-up before the start of the NHRA season, potentially offers entrants a chance to evaluate their competition, although “The Professor” believes the true gain will come in how it will affect his crew’s attitude entering the POWERade championship fight.

“The biggest benefit from racing in the Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown is that it gets you in the right mindset to race,” stated Johnson.  “After all, as a pre-season event, you’re not going to lean on your equipment as hard as you would at a national event.  In addition, its effectiveness as a test session is minimized by the combination of potentially cold temperatures, and the unusual altitude in the Nevada desert.   Therefore, the greatest value of any data gathered will be to ensure everything on the car is working properly.

“But, when the GM Performance Parts Pontiac crew gets to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, it will really hit home that the 2008 season is right around the corner.  The psychological effect of competing in the Showdown will get us mentally ready to start the new year, and of course, the best way to show you’re prepared is to win, which is what we’re hoping to do.”

Johnny Gray officially entered his fifth drag racing class on Friday. He's competed in Nitro Funny Car, TAD, TAFC, Comp eliminator prior to this latest venture.
WJ’s famous son, Kurt Johnson, will be doing something this weekend many people can identify with -- taking his new car for a ride to see what it can do. 

“We’re going to be shaking our ACDelco Cobalt down this weekend in Las Vegas,” said Johnson.  “Between the fickle weather, the research and development work we were doing at the shop, and getting this car finished, we really didn’t have a chance to test, so this will be our first time at the track since Pomona. 

“The way I see it, we’re about to set a wild animal loose and try to tame it with our bare hands.  It’s going to be interesting.”

Even though this event is intended as an exhibition, and has no true bearing on the championship, as the first competitive outing of the year, it offers racers the opportunity to gauge their progress against that of their rivals, and to potentially set the tone for the year ahead.  As such, winning remains a top priority.

“This weekend will be the first chance for everyone to get a general idea of where they stand,” said Johnson.  “We’re confident that we made some gains during the offseason, and the challenge will be applying those gains to the racetrack. To be honest, our biggest concern is the car.  We need to know how big of a tuning window we’ll have to work with.

“Therefore, one of our primary goals for this weekend will be establishing a baseline tune-up for this particular ACDelco Cobalt, a benchmark from which we can start to adjust for the conditions.  That is why we will probably stay in Las Vegas and test on Sunday and possibly Monday.

“We’ll also use this track to reestablish our race day routine.  It will be a good opportunity for our new crew member, Jarrett (Hadorn), to see what it’s like without the pressure of a national event.   But even though this just a tune-up, make no mistake, this ACDelco crew is going to Las Vegas to win.”

Greg Stanfield debuted the Attitude Apparel Pontiac on Friday.
Kurt will be joining his father, GM Performance Parts Pontiac pilot Warren Johnson, and numerous other stars of the Pro Stock division at an autograph session at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino, which will be held from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. on Friday, February 1.  The Suncoast Hotel and Casino is located at 9090 Alta Drive in Las Vegas. 

Even the nitro guys show up to watch the Pro Stock teams. Jack Beckman, fresh off of Phoenix testing, was in attendance on Friday.

ADJUSTING THE SCHEDULE – LVMS has made an adjustment to the Sunday (and Sunday only -- everything else stays the same) schedule for Sunday, Feb. 3, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

Sunday, February 3
Gates open, pit parking, tech inspection – 6 a.m.
One time-trial run, followed by Bracket Run-for-the-Money – 8 a.m.
Bracket Championship Kick-Off eliminations – 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (times approximate).
Pro Stock practice – 10 a.m., Noon, 2 p.m. only.
Alcohol test sessions – 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

KORETSKY’S BUG-A-BOO - Kenny Koretsky rolled out of bed Thursday and pronounced himself fit to begin testing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Thursday.
Koretsky, of Richboro, Pa., was bedridden for 11 days with flu-like symptoms.
“I feel a lot better now,” said the popular driver who also answers to the nickname Captain Chaos.  “I couldn’t do anything, and that was difficult for me because I’m always on the go. But I did lose 11 pounds, and that made Eddie happy.  (Eddie Guarnaccia is the longtime crew chief on his Nitro Fish/Indicom Electric Chevy Cobalt.)  He’s always after me to lose weight. That’s not the way I wanted to do it, but we’ll take advantage of it.” (Koretsky graciously refused to reveal his current weight.)
“We were excited to get out of Pennsylvania and to Las Vegas for testing and the Pro Stock Shootout Saturday. In my book there’s no better place for Captain Chaos to start than in viva Las Vegas.”
A NEW DEAL - Koretsky said he and Greg Hill “are racing partners again this year.  Sonny Leonard is working on Greg’s engines and we are really looking forward to getting Sonny’s motor in the car to see what it can do.  Sonny had the motor on the dyno Tuesday in his shop (in Lynchburg, Va.) and it was in our car Thursday.”
Hill also is working with fellow Pro Stock driver Greg Stanfield. We hope this two-car concept reaps dividends,” he commented.  “They are separate teams but we will share information to make both cars run better,” said Hill. “We’ll get double the feedback.
“Kenny is running my motors that Leonard is working on and I own both cars,” Hill said.  “Pro Stock is getting so technical and competitive that you need every edge you can get. We are shooting to get both cars into the winner’s circle.
“We think it’s a pretty good deal.  We are working to develop our own motor program with Sonny and, at the same time, Stanfield is working on his stuff.  I think we have to do our own motor program if we are to be successful.  The top six teams (from 2007) all had their own motor programs.”
Koretsky was scheduled to buckle up for action Thursday, but cold weather at The Strip kept action to a minimum.   Three rounds of Pro Stock qualifying are on tap for the Shootout Friday – plus additional testing – before Saturday’s 16-car eliminations. Sunday is listed as the final test day.
“I’m ready to go to the NHRA winner’s circle for the first time,” Koretsky concluded.  “We all hope to get at least one win.”

With the beautiful silhoutte of LVMS, we present Jim Yates' Wiley X Pontiac GXP. (Les Welch Photo)