READING, Pa. (Oct. 10) — Back-to-back Reading winner Jeg Coughlin Jr. started Sunday’s elimination action at the 26th annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals with thoughts of a shake-up. Facing Greg Anderson, the second-ranked driver in the points, Coughlin knew he had a shot at gaining some serious ground in the rankings if he could go some rounds at Maple Grove Raceway.

But after a stellar .011-second reaction time gave him a sizable head start at the Christmas Tree, Coughlin’s Chevrolet Cobalt soon overpowered the racetrack and went into tire shake, allowing Anderson to zip by and win with the quickest and fastest pass of the weekend, a 6.544 at 211.43 mph.

“We had a small chance of reviving a championship run racing the No. 2 car in the first round but we were just a shade too aggressive,” Coughlin said. “We’re very disappointed. I had a great reaction time but we couldn’t go the distance. (Anderson) did a better job and the better team won this time.”

With two races left on the schedule but no realistic chance of winning his sixth NHRA championship, Coughlin admits he’ll need to find a way to get excited about racing out the season.

“A lot of what we do centers around winning the championship,” he said. “But the associates at JEGS do a great job of motivating me and the fans at the track, of which there were many waiting at the pits when I got back here just now, they always pull me through. I’ll race for them and try my best for them but I will need their help to get fired up for Vegas and Pomona.

“We really just have had a miserable car for the past three races. It was actually good here, much better than it’s been, but those first three Countdown races just knocked us down. We were capable of winning today. The last three races we couldn’t say that. You have to step it up in Countdown to win a championship and we haven’t done that the last two years.”

Sunday’s race will be shown Sunday night on ESPN.


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