TOPEKA, Kan. (May 31) — A semifinal finish Sunday afternoon at Heartland Park Topeka kept back-to-back Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the No 1 slot in the world rankings for the fifth consecutive race. Coughlin beat Steve Spiess and former champion Jason Line before falling to top qualifier Mike Edwards, who moved into second place at the event.

“The final four cars were the top four qualifiers at the event and the final round has the No. 1 qualifier against the No. 2 qualifier so this race went exactly to plan,” Coughlin said. “We’re racing pretty well and we’re still leading the points so it’s hard to be upset, although we sure wanted to get another win in the bank today.

“I think we need to be a little more versatile and figure out how to transition to these hot race tracks because it certainly feels as though summer is here to stay. If we can get a consistent tune-up for these slicker tracks, we’re going to be fine.”

Starting the day in the fourth position on the grid, Coughlin opened with a crushing defeat of Spiess, running a 6.705 at 205.54 mph in his Chevrolet Cobalt to Spiess’ 6.828 at 202.30 mph.

Coughlin followed that run up with a 6.741 at 204.91 mph, which helped him track down and pass Line, who posted a 6.803 at 204.57 mph.

The race against Edwards was over early as Coughlin’s car got out of shape just off the launch pad, forcing the 38-year-old four-time class champion to shut it off.

“I dropped the clutch and felt the car trying to slide out from under me,” Coughlin said. “I pulled second gear and it started paddling the tires, so I grabbed third early to try and calm it down but by then Mike was gone. There wasn’t much I could do at that point.

“We’ve got a short week, which is exciting. Four days from now we’ll be back in the car in Chicago and we’ll be ready to go.”



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