POMONA, CA – With six world championships and 80 career wins, Jeg Coughlin Jr. is known far more for his winning ways on race day than his prowess during qualifying sessions. But he has added mightily to that second category this season, which he capped Saturday with a personal-best sixth low qualifier award of the year.
Just as he has throughout his career, Coughlin set his new mark in style, running his best pass of the 54th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals in the final qualifying session with a rocket-ship run of 6.510 at 211.49 mph. The pass showed a remarkable 60-foot time of .958 seconds.
“Rickie (Jones, crew chief) had the car set on kill,” Coughlin said. “We knew we wanted to stay up front and felt like we could get after it as much as possible and not jeopardize, completely, making an otherwise solid run and we made quite a lap there.
POMONA, CA – Currently ranked second in the Pro Stock championship points, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and his JEGS.com Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro are mathematically alive in the title hunt. But entering the race 140 points off the lead, and even factoring in the points-and-a-half to be awarded on race day, Coughlin is aiming for the more realistic goals at this weekend’s 54th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals.
“Pomona is going to be an important race for us as a team,” Coughlin said. “It’s a big positioning race for us to figure out really who will finish two through seven. It’s very open right now. Not only do we want to qualify well and win four rounds on Sunday, we would like to finish as high as No. 2 in the points standings. But even though we’re there going in, it’s going to be a fight to stay there. We are just going to focus on that.”
Coughlin has qualified extremely well in the first five races of the Countdown to the Championship, qualifying No. 1 three times. He’s raced as far as the final round once, in Dallas, before settling for runner-up honors.
LAS VEGAS – Six-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s qualifying mastery of this year’s Countdown to the Championship races continued Saturday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when he earned the Pro Stock pole of the 18th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals with a 6.628 at 206.73 mph in the JEGS.com Camaro.
In five playoff races, Coughlin has now qualified on top of the factory hot rod class three times. He also qualified second overall at another Countdown event. For the year, Coughlin now has five poles to his credit, pushing his career total to 28.
“It’s certainly coming at just the right time, without question, as the Countdown narrows again tomorrow and again two weeks from now in Pomona when we wrap up the year,” Coughlin said. “We managed to earn some good qualifying bonus points in the Countdown and certainly we need them because every point counts.
MONTGOMERY, AL – For the second time in his career, veteran E.T. bracket racer and longtime JEGS Mail Order associate Kenny Underwood has claimed a victory at the Mickey Thompson Million Dollar Drag Race. Driving his JEGS-backed dragster, Underwood made his way through a field of nearly 300 of the nation’s best sportsman drag racers to capture the massive $275,000 first-place prize.
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I can’t believe this is really happening,” said Underwood, who was also crowned the Million Dollar Race champion in 2013. “Obviously, I’m very, very happy. I want to thank Randy (Folk, Million Dollar Race promoter) for having this race and JEGS for all their support.”
Racing late into the night, Underwood made his way through nine tough rounds of competition on the Montgomery Motorsports Park eighth-mile. In the final round, he staged against 17-year-old phenom Cory Gulitti of Spring, Texas, and won the with a 4.767 elapsed time, matching his dial-in prediction of 4.76-seconds. Gulitti broke out by running quicker than his 4.44 dial with a 4.435. Underwood’s path to the final also includes wins against successful E.T. racers David “Bird” Jones and Chuck Flanagan.
CHARLOTTE – Five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. has won his titles in a variety of ways, including holding off challengers from the lead position and coming from behind late in the season. If he hopes to add a sixth crown to his resume this year it will require catching and passing Tanner Gray, winner of the last two national events, who currently sits 90 points ahead of Coughlin in the Mello Yello points.
Coughlin has made a phenomenal run in the first three playoff races in the JEGS.com Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro, qualifying No. 1 on two occasions and second at the other event. He’s logged finishes in the quarterfinal, semifinal and final round. Only Gray has earned more points since the Countdown to the championship started.
“I don’t know if we could be doing anything more than we have,” Coughlin said. “This Elite Motorsports team has done everything in its power to give me a great racecar every round, both in qualifying and on race day. The game plan is to approach Charlotte just like we have the first three playoff races. We want to race hard, race smart and see if we can’t add one more win light to the day then we did in Dallas and pick up a win.
ENNIS, TX – Five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. continued his memorable playoff run Sunday with a runner-up finish at the 33rd annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals. In three Countdown to the Championship events, Coughlin has now finished, in order, in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.
“I like the way we’re trending because the only thing left to do is win, so I hope that’s coming next weekend,” Coughlin said.
That certainly wouldn’t be a surprise because aside from points leader Tanner Gray, who edged Coughlin in Sunday’s final with a 6.622 at 207.62 mph to Coughlin’s 6.636 at 207.82 mph in his JEGS.com Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro, no one has been running better in the entire class.
In fact, Coughlin’s strong racecar, incredible qualifying efforts of second, first and first, and his ascending finishes in the playoffs have lifted him to a season-best third-place ranking in the Mello Yello points. The 80-time national event winner is now just one point behind second-place Vincent Nobile and 90 back of Gray.
ENNIS, TX – It’s hard to argue with the qualifying success Jeg Coughlin Jr. has enjoyed in the first three races of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Now if he can only translate his top qualifying efforts into race day wins, he’ll be tough to top.
For the second straight race, Coughlin qualified his JEGS.com Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro at the top of the field. Two races back he was second overall, clearly signifying his car is at the top of the class at the moment. Coughlin now has four No. 1 qualifiers this year and 27 for his career. Those are great numbers, but adding to his career win total of 80 is what he’s really after.
“That’s the No. 1 item on the agenda,” Coughlin said. “The team has been working incredibly hard and we’ve had a great car. They were hard at it, once again, prepping for this weekend and it shows.
“We executed really well yesterday and today. We had the quickest car in two out of four sessions and now we’re sitting here as the No. 1 qualifier again so that’s really cool. Tip of the hat to our collection of crew chiefs and crew guys for all their hard work getting us to this point.”
So far, Coughlin has been the only Pro Stock driver to run in the 6.5-second range, securing the top spot with a 6.599 at 207.53 mph. He’s also posted a 6.602, a 6.624 and a 6.625.