CHICAGO (June 9) – Friday evening’s cool temperatures and stellar track conditions gave way to stifling heat and tricky tune-up calls Saturday as the final two rounds of professional qualifying for the 10th annual Torco Race Fuels Route 66 Nationals were run. Eliminations are next, beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Three-time NHRA champion and two-time Chicago winner Jeg Coughlin Jr. knew he wasn’t going to improve on his previous nighttime pass of 6.632 at 208.17 mph, so instead he spent the day working with his Victor Cagnazzi Racing crew to perfect a race day set-up for his yellow and black Chevrolet Cobalt.

“We were second quickest of the first round and quickest of the second round today so we’re obviously looking very good here,” the 36-year-old Coughlin said. “Credit the crew for doing an outstanding job of reading this very tough racetrack and making the right calls to get us down as quickly as possible.”

A savvy veteran racer, Coughlin knew Saturday’s two hot rounds are much more likely to mirror what he’ll encounter on race day. As such, he says just as much useful information was gained in the computer banks Saturday as the hero run of Friday night. He opened Saturday with a 6.653 at 207.37 mph and followed that up with a 6.664 at 206.80 mph.

“The Friday night runs are fun for the drivers and great for the fans but we don’t race under those conditions,” Coughlin said. “With rare exceptions, we race under pretty much the same weather and track conditions we see Saturday, so obviously today’s runs were important.

“After running the numbers we did today, to say we’re excited about our chances tomorrow would be an understatement. We’ve shown for the past several races we have a very consistent racecar and consistency wins races.”

Coughlin will open eliminations against Mike Edwards, who qualified 14th with a 6.654 at 207.08 mph, which he posted Friday night under the lights.

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