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Front-running threesome from Team JEGS to take on all-comers at ‘Battle at the Beech’

BOWLING GREEN, KY – Wishing to remain in the mix for national, regional and divisional titles this year, Team JEGS drag racers Mike Coughlin, his nephew Troy Coughlin Jr., and niece Paige Coughlin look at this weekend’s Battle at the Beech at historic Beech Bend Dragway as a big opportunity to stack up championship points.

“There’s going to be a lot of JEGS yellow and black over in Beech Bend this weekend and that’s really cool,” said Mike, who will compete in Top Dragster. “I’m thrilled to be back racing at a Division 3 event in a place as familiar as this track. I won my first divisional Wally (trophy) here in Super Comp in 1989 so it’s always been a favorite stop.”

In the last two D3 races, which were held in early July in Indy and Chicago, Mike came away with back-to-back victories, which pushed him into the D3 lead. He headed west after that and although he didn’t add to his win totals, he went enough rounds to work his way up to fifth in the national rankings.

“We made a change to a new Fowler F12 roots-style supercharger before those two wins and we’re going to stick with what we’ve been doing since the switchover,” Mike said. “The only issue we’ve had was dropping a valve in Seattle but Greg (Cody, crewman) rebuilt that motor since then and we’re good to go.

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Steve Easton and Patriot Pro Mod Head to Dragway 42 Looking for Consistency

SALEM, OH – So far in 2019 Steve Easton and the Patriot Pro Mod team have been doing everything right they just haven’t seen the results on the race track. Over the off-season new parts were added and tested by the young Australian who is driving and contributing to the tuning efforts. Easton and his team continued to make improvements on the set-up and put together an on-track testing schedule that they felt would have them ready to improve upon the success they experienced at the end of 2018. Through a number of test sessions and two races this season there is has been frustration but no concession.

“We have had a tough go of it for sure,” said Easton. “It seems like we just haven’t been able to get the power to the track or we are creating too much power for the conditions. This team is working so hard and putting in a ton of hours. I really think we are about to turn the corner. We had high hopes headed into the Night Under Fire.”

The team had high hopes heading into the iconic Night Under Fire two weekends ago in Norwalk but a disappointing DNQ set them back on their heels.  They realized they needed to do a full tear down of the ’63 Corvette Pro Mod following the event. After a systematic evaluation the team discovered some chassis damage which is not unusual but had to be repaired.

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After Final Round Appearance, Enders Turns the Corner Leaving Brainerd  

Brainerd, MN – Erica Enders could feel things starting to swing her way, and after a final-round appearance on Sunday, the two-time Pro Stock world champion may be peaking at the perfect time.

Enders wanted her first win of 2019 at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, but she ended up with her second runner-up of the year and left Brainerd with a significant confidence boost.

“I’ve got a good racecar underneath me and the guys on the team have gained some confidence,” Enders said. “Hearing the confidence in their voice gives me confidence and it allows us to have a little bit of our old swagger back. We had the same motor all weekend in my car and hopefully we’re onto something. We just lost a really awesome drag race in the final round.”

That came to No. 1 qualifier Jason Line, when his 6.597 in the final round beat Enders’ 6.604 at 207.59 by a mere 20 inches in a thrilling duel.

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Pritchett and Capps Double Up for Dodge//SRT Mopar With NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car Triumphs at Brainerd

Auburn Hills, MI – Leah Pritchett and Ron Capps earned Dodge//SRT Mopar an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series double up with Top Fuel and Funny Car wins, respectively, in the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota.

For Pritchett, the win Sunday was her first piloting the Mopar-powered Dodge//SRT Top Fuel dragster in 2019 and first since winning the 2018 Dodge Mile-High Nationals, a span of 26 races. She scored her eighth career win by beating Kyle Wurtzel, Billy Torrence, Austin Prock and Mike Salinas.

Capps defeated fellow Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) and Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car racer Tommy Johnson, Jr. racing the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to score his third Wally of the season, 64th  of this career and a record sixth in Brainerd.

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DSR Brainerd Post-Race Recap

DSR Doubles-Up at Brainerd – Leah Pritchett and Ron Capps Race to Victory

BRAINERD, MN – Leah Pritchett and Ron Capps earned Don Schumacher Racing an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series double-up with Top Fuel and Funny Car wins, respectively, at Brainerd International Raceway on Sunday. It was the 161st Top Fuel win, and 156th Funny Car victory for DSR, bringing the winningest team in NHRA history’s total win count to an unprecedented 341 triumphs.

For Pritchett, the win Sunday was her first in 2019, and first since winning the 2018 Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, snapping a 26-race win drought. She scored her eighth career victory by defeating Kyle Wurtzel, Billy Torrence, Austin Prock, and Mike Salinas.

It’s been a challenging season for Pritchett, and Sunday she and her MOPAR Dodge Top Fuel team were the last ones standing after starting the day from the fourth position on the eliminations ladder. After being knocked out in the first round the previous two races, the first hurdle was cleared when she defeated Wurtzel by posting a lap of 3.744 seconds at 327.43 mph. She followed that win by defeating the last two event winners in consecutive rounds, first beating Billy Torrence in the second round and then avenging two consecutive first-round losses to Austin Prock in the semifinals. By defeating Prock, she reached the final round for the 15th time in her career and officially clinched her spot in the Countdown to the Championship. In the final, Pritchett left first and smoothly drove away to score her 130th career round win and second race win at Brainerd.

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ROBERT HIGHT ONE STEP CLOSER TO CLINCHING FIRST REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP

BRAINERD, MN — Leaving the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway with a 179-points lead, Robert Hight and the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team will only need to qualify at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals to secure the No. 1 position in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoffs.

It would be the first time in his 15-year career that Hight has won the regular season championship and the fifth time a John Force Racing driver has secured the title. Team namesake John Force held the No. 1 spot going into the Countdown in 2010 and 2014, former driver Mike Neff in 2011 and Courtney Force in 2018.

“I’ve never gone into the Countdown No. 1. You know, its 30 points, and once the Countdown starts, every point is going to matter. We’re going to go up there every single qualifying run and try to get three points or the little points. I lost the Championship in 2007 by 19 points so to go into the Countdown No. 1, it’s ours to lose, I guess. If you don’t mess up, it’s yours so I’m proud of my guys for that,” Hight said. “Proud of the first part of the season getting five wins and all the No. 1 qualifiers. Five wins is the most I’ve ever had in a season (ties 2011 and 2014) and I’m going to make a prediction right now that I’m going to need eight or nine to win the championship so that’s going to be a stellar year for the Auto Club Chevrolet. Eight or nine wins, that’s record time stuff.”

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Toyota Drivers Langdon, Kalitta Advance To Semifinals, Earn Playoff Berths At NHRA Brainerd 

BRAINERD, MN – Shawn Langdon advanced to the Funny Car semifinals, while Doug Kalitta did the same in Top Fuel to lead Toyota at Sunday’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. In the process, both drivers officially clinched berths in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Langdon registered two of the three quickest Funny Car passes of the day. In round one, he drove his Toyota Camry to an easy victory over Paul Lee with a 3.905-second run.  Langdon would then better that time with a 3.903-second pass in a round two win over Bob Bode to set up a matchup with Ron Capps. In the semis, Langdon took an early lead and held it through 330 feet before smoking the ties prior the midway point, giving the win to Capps.

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