CHICAGO (June 6) — It seems elementary to say the shortest distance between two points is a straight line but when you’re in command of a 1,350-horsepower Pro Stock car that covers the quarter-mile in 6.6 seconds at 208 mph while the driver bangs through five gears, lots of things can get you off track.

Point leader Jeg Coughlin Jr. has a class-leading three wins in five final-round appearances this season in his Chevrolet Cobalt and has led the Full Throttle standings for the last five national events. Even so, the five-time world champion and his teammates at Victor Cagnazzi Racing are always trying to get better and their objective coming into Route 66 Raceway for this weekend’s 12th annual United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals was fairly straightforward.

“Our goal this weekend was to get the car to go straight,” Coughlin said. “We needed to find a way to calm it down without losing any performance. When you’re searching for 10-thousandths of a second on an ET slip, every little thing counts.”

Coughlin opened the weekend with a 6.616 at 208.55 mph that put his Chevy into the No. 1 position on the provisional qualifying ladder.

“That was the exact start we were looking for,” said the 38-year-old from Delaware, Ohio. “It really got us off on the right foot.”

Consequent runs showed a 6.644 at 208.94, a 6.620 at 208.94 mph, and a 6.624 at 207.88 mph.

“We’re consistent, and even better the car is going straight, so we’re very excited with our performance through qualifying,” Coughlin said. “My Pop is here this weekend and I think he brings an extra element to our team when he’s able to make it to the events.”

Coughlin ended up third overall and will open eliminations against newcomer Ryan Ondrejko, who qualified 14th with a 6.658 at 205.69 mph. This is Ondrejko’s first race at the professional level, making him the 58th different opponent Coughlin has faced in pro Stock.

Route 66 Raceway has been exceptionally good for Coughlin as he’s won three races in six final-round appearances in the past.

Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m.


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