DENVER (July 14) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. completed qualifying for the 28th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in the No. 6 position Saturday afternoon, setting up a Round 1 elimination race against fellow Ohioan Larry Morgan in Sunday’s opening session of sudden-death racing. Coughlin hails from Delaware, Ohio, while Morgan calls Newark, Ohio, home.

A three-time series champion, Coughlin had two steady runs in Saturday’s heat and humidity at Bandimere Speedway — running a 7.075 and a 7.060 in his Chevrolet Cobalt — but neither one was better than his 7.058-second pass at 195.59 mph from Friday evening. Morgan was able to improve ever-so-slightly, knocking .004 seconds off his Friday time to qualify 11th with a 7.077 at 195.00 mph.

“We’ve been so consistent all weekend and I absolutely love it when my cars running like that,” Coughlin said. “You know within a very small window what it’s going to run and you’re able to focus all of your energy on making a perfect run. We really don’t need to change anything heading into race day. We just need to carry on with what we’ve been doing.”

Coughlin’s raced to five finals in the last eight races with two wins and three runner-up results to show for it. He’s closed the gap on the current points leader to four rounds of action with five races left until the first Countdown to the Championship cutoff date.

“Every single person at Victor Cagnazzi Racing should take credit for our success because it’s been a total team effort from the start,” Coughlin said. “We’re looking good for another day tomorrow and the group behind me is as excited as I am.

“Lane choice has been crucial at this place for as long as I can remember. For whatever reason, the left lane has always been slightly better. You can win out of the right lane but you’d rather start on the left side if you can.

“We’ve got my fellow Buckeye Larry Morgan in Round 1 and he’s always tough. I expect nothing but the best from him tomorrow.”

Eliminations begin at 12 p.m. MDT.

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