BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. added another piece of history to his illustrious resume Sunday by recording his 50th NHRA national event win at the 26th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Only 10 other racers have reached the prestigious 50-win plateau in the 56-year history of NHRA Championship Drag Racing, including just three other Pro Stock racers.

Coughlin took out POWERade points leader Greg Anderson in the final round to record the win, his third of the season. Just as he had all day, Coughlin left first on his opponent and managed to drive away for the win with a 6.667 at 205.94 mph to Anderson’s 6.669 at 207.24 mph.

“This was big,” Coughlin said. “To get our 50th win against the competition we run these days is special. Today’s a great example of how tough it is; I had Allen Johnson, who’s fourth in the points, Jason Line who’s fifth, the big cowboy, six-time champion Warren Johnson, and then the best driver in the class over the last four years in Greg Anderson.

“Getting to 50 wins was one of my goals when I returned to Pro Stock. It’s special to think that only 10 other people have achieved that mark in 50-plus years of drag racing. Fortunately, I’ve had a great hot rod with [team owner] Victor Cagnazzi and his entire team of technicians and mechanics and they’ve given me a car capable of winning races.”

The 37-year-old Coughlin collected his 50 national event wins in five different classes. He now has 37 Pro Stock wins to go with 13 Sportsman victories in four different classes. He’s won seven times in Super Stock, four times in Super Gas, and one time each in Competition Eliminator and Top Dragster.

“I remember winning Indy in 1992 [in Super Gas] and standing in the winner’s circle with [NHRA founder] Wally Parks,” Coughlin said. “That was my second win and now I look back and see how far we’ve come as a sport. It’s just phenomenal the vision Wally had and how it’s grown.”

Beginning with Allen Johnson, Coughlin beat all of Sunday’s opponents with 6.6-second passes. He even set a BIR track record for elapsed time in the quarterfinals when he posted a 6.659 at 206.32 mph against low qualifier Jason Line. He then downed six-time champion Warren Johnson in the semis to reach his 58th Pro Stock final round.

“The important thing right now is for us to stay second in the points,” Coughlin said. “I know we can’t catch Greg now for the No. 1 spot but if we stay second we’ll go into Indy just half a round behind him in the Countdown to the Championship points, which will be the closest anyone has been to him all year.”

The Chevrolet Cobalt team also earned the Full Throttle Pit Crew Challenge award for the fifth time this year, the most of any group in the four professional categories. The Full Throttle award is presented to the crew who has the most consistent car of the four qualifying sessions at a given race.

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