DALLAS (Sept. 20) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. continued his torrid pace Saturday in the two final rounds of professional qualifying for the 23rd annual Super Start Batteries NHRA Nationals and enters race day with the car to beat after locking up the 14th low qualifier award of his career.

Coughlin’s best pass of 6.631 seconds at 207.56 mph was actually posted Friday, but his two attempts in Saturday’s heat were just as impressive, especially in Round 4 where he was once again the quickest of the class. All four of his runs were within a range of two hundredths of a second.

“With the weather being the way it was we really expect more of the same today, which is pretty much what we got,” Coughlin said. “By all indications, this is how it’s going to be tomorrow as well so it’s great to be running so consistently.

“The track has been perfect all weekend, right along with the weather. We were the most consistent car through qualifying and we’re looking forward to a strong race day as well. We have been running really well on Sunday the last few weeks and I am feeling confident behind the wheel, despite a fever I’m fighting, but it makes me want to fight that much harder.”

In Round 1 of eliminations, Coughlin will face a familiar foe when he lines up against pseudo teammate Ron Krisher, who uses Victor Cagnazzi Racing powerplants. Krisher barely made the field with a 6.697 at 206.01 mph in the final session. The two Ohio natives have raced five times this year with Coughlin holding a 4-1 advantage.

“I hate to go up against my teammate but that’s the way it goes,” Coughlin said. “We know what he’s got under the hood so if they get their car figured out he can be a handful for us. We need to be on our toes. We’ll certainly make the best of it.

“Dallas is great. The stands are packed and there are a lot of great things going on with the DRAW Auction and GM’s 100th birthday, so we would love to be in the Winner’s Circle celebrating with them.”

Coughlin entered the race third in the championship points, 31 points behind leader Kurt Johnson, who qualified seventh here. Through qualifying, he is now just 26 points off the lead.

“That just goes to show you how important qualifying can be,” Coughlin said. “You can make up ground with those bonus points, and it could be the difference at the end.”

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