SEATTLE (July 17) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. will enjoy looking at a mountain rather than racing on one this weekend at the 20th annual Schuck’s Auto Supply NHRA Nationals at beautiful Pacific Raceways, which lies at the base of Mount Rainer. The NHRA tour pulled out of Denver Monday morning and headed to the Great Northwest with Coughlin still holding the title of hottest driver in the Pro Stock class over the last 10 races.

“We held our own in Denver and didn’t lose any ground in the points, which is always important, but I must admit that I’m excited about racing in Seattle,” said Coughlin, who upped his win total to 49 less than two weeks ago in Bristol, Tenn. “The engine guys at Cagnazzi Racing have proven they know how to make a lot of horsepower and tracks like Pacific Raceways allow us to strut our stuff a little bit, and that’s always fun.”

The driver of the Chevrolet Cobalt, Coughlin is no stranger to success in the Great Northwest. He won this event in 2002, a victory that helped him secure his third POWERade championship. Coughlin has two Pro Stock titles (2000 and 2002) and one Super Gas championship (1992) on his resume.

“The track is surrounded by trees and it’s just about at sea-level so we have all the oxygen we need, which is perfect for these naturally-aspirated Pro Stock cars,” the 37-year-old Coughlin said. “Having said that, we did pretty darn well in Bristol and that facility is considered an altitude track so it doesn’t seem to matter to this group.

“Our focus right now at Cagnazzi Racing is to make sure both Dave (Connolly, his teammate) and I are comfortably in the top eight. The first cutoff for the Countdown to the Championship is just four races away so we need to make absolutely sure we’re in the field. Right now we’re second and third so we’re looking good.”

The new playoff-style Countdown format to decide this year’s champions pares each professional field down to eight eligible drivers prior to the U.S. Nationals in Indy. The group will be trimmed again after four more races following the event in Richmond, Va., with a final sprint to the titles starting in Las Vegas.

“It’s great to hear that we’ve scored more points than anyone else in the class over the last 10 races,” said Coughlin, who trails POWERade leader Greg Anderson by just 84 points. “If we can keep that streak alive we’ll contend for the title right down to the end. I know we have an extremely quick car that gets down the racetrack every time. I know what it takes to win championships and we have the pieces in place with this team.”

Pro Stock qualifying begins at 3 p.m. PDT Friday.

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