PHOENIX (Feb. 19) — Occupying two of the top five positions in the NHRA Chase for the Championship, Cagnazzi Racing teammates Jeg Coughlin and Dave Connolly have their 2007 seasons right on track after the first of 23 national events on the POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Behind the wheel of his Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevrolet Cobalt, Coughlin, the namesake of the JEGS High Performance mail order parts empire, successfully qualified in the top half of an extremely tough Pomona field and beat two-time series champion Jim Yates before leaving California fifth in the new POWERade rankings.

If not for a slight engine malfunction in the quarterfinals, Coughlin knows his consistent hot rod could have carried him to an even loftier perch.

“If we can limit our mistakes, there is no stopping this Slammers Ultimate Milk race team,” Coughlin said. “Dave’s third in the points and I’m fifth and I truly believe we both had a chance to win Pomona. We’re all very optimistic in this camp and I know I’m very much looking forward to getting back behind the wheel in Phoenix.”

Aside from his powerful new race team, Coughlin has a solid history at Firebird International Raceway to lean on when the race begins Feb. 23. He’s won three times at the facility — once in Pro Stock (2000), once in Competition Eliminator (1997), and once in Super Stock (1995).

He’ll have a chance to reclaim two of those crowns this time through as he’ll once again be racing his Super Stock Chevrolet Cavalier in addition to his Pro Stock ride.

In Pomona, Coughlin qualified No. 1 in Super Stock and made it to the fourth of seven rounds of eliminations before losing on a red-light disqualification.

“Just like the Pro Stock crew, the guys working on my Super Stocker gave me a perfect car every round,” Coughlin said. “Both cars ran extremely well and there’s no reason to think we can’t have the same success or more in Phoenix.

“I enjoy racing both cars. It keeps me busy and it can’t hurt to make all those extra passes in competition. It’s kinda nice to know I’ve won in Phoenix in both classes before. It adds a little bit of extra confidence for me.”

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