INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 31) — For the fourth consecutive qualifying pass, reigning world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. managed to coax a little more speed out of his Chevrolet Cobalt Sunday morning when he improved to a 6.664 at 206.23 mph. The extra effort paid big dividends as the 53-time national event winner jumped from mid-pack to the lofty No. 4 starting position for Monday’s eliminations at drag racing longest running and most prestigious race.

“We just kept picking away at the tune-up and Jeggy managed to put a great number up there,” said Jeg Coughlin Sr., the driver’s father who consults with crew chief Roy Simmons at the races. “We were very excited to move up the ladder.

“In the final session we tried something completely different to see what it would do but it didn’t work so we’ll put it back together the way it was this morning and get ready for race day. I think we’ll have a good car all day.”

Coughlin’s run of record pits him against engine builder Steve Schmidt of Indianapolis, a part-time racer with a lengthy resume in the class. The two men have not faced each other this season. Due to his superior elapsed time, Coughlin will have lane choice. Schmidt’s quickest pass was a 13th-best 6.688 at 206.57 mph.

“So far I’d have to say I’m partial to the left lane but they’re both pretty good,” Jeg Jr. said. “The entire field is separated by five-hundredths of a second so anyone can win. It’s basically business as usual because it’s always like that; the stakes are just a little higher this weekend because it’s Indy.”

Coughlin has won four times at this facility. He claimed Super Gas in 1992, took the Pro Stock trophy in 2000 and 2002, and won the Super Stock Hemi Challenge in 2004.

“It’s very cool to be a part of the history of this race,” Jeg Jr. said. ‘I’d like to add to that history tomorrow.”

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