GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 18) — A strong quarterfinal run that included his career-best elapsed time and top speed moved three-time NHRA champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. up two slots in the crowded POWERade points standings to seventh place overall. It’s an important step for the 47-time national event winner as the new championship structure allows only the top eight racers to run for the title.

Coughlin opened the day with a 6.582-second, 210.01-mph victory over Allen Johnson that was both his quickest and fastest run ever.

The win over Johnson set-up a Round 2 match-up with three-time series winner Greg Anderson, who posted a national record of 6.536 seconds in his opening race of the day. Undaunted, Coughlin lined his Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevrolet Cobalt up against Anderson and quickly took a two-hundredths of a second head start. But Anderson managed to track Coughlin down and nip him at the finish line by a mere six-thousandths of a second, 6.563 to 6.589.

“Greg’s making some smoke over there,” Coughlin said. “I knew he had us covered performance-wise so I tried to gain as much as a could at the tree. He gave us a little but I needed just a touch more.

“I’m still pleased with the weekend. The car is getting better and our confidence is growing each round. To run our best numbers ever is special and the fact our performance helped us move into that provisional group that’s in the Countdown to the Championship is a bonus. Now we need to stay in that group and if we continue to go rounds we will.”

Coughlin will have one weekend off before the O’Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas.

“The season’s getting revved up now and it’s exciting for all of our associates at Jeg’s Mail Order,” said Coughlin, who claimed the C-Modified class trophy in Super Stock earlier this weekend. “It’s great to have a built-in fanbase with them and it was a blast to spend time with all the great Slammers folks this weekend here in Florida. Now we need to show everyone a win.”

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