SONOMA, Calif. (July 26) — Reigning Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. knew Saturday’s early session of professional qualifying for the 21st annual Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals was going to be the best one of the weekend. He was right, and the savvy four-time world champ took full advantage of the ideal conditions at Infineon Raceway to run the second quickest pass of the day, a 6.636 at 207.53 mph, that moved his Chevrolet Cobalt up to sixth place overall.

“I’m pumped up to run a number like that, especially considering where it ranked against everyone else in that session and I’m even happier that our Cobalt went nice and straight both times today,” said Coughlin, who was third quickest of the final session in the heat of the day. “This is as fired up as I can remember being in several weeks. We’ve got our racecar back.”

The 2003 winner of this event, Coughlin knows what he’s up against in the opening round of Sunday’s eliminations as he’ll race Ron Krisher, who leases engines from Coughlin’s car owner, Victor Cagnazzi. Krisher’s best pass was a 6.656 at 207.27 mph, which placed him 11th on the grid. Coughlin and Krisher have raced four times this year with Coughlin holding a 3-1 record against the veteran racer.

“The good news is that Victor will have one of his cars in the second round,” Coughlin said. “Of course, we’d prefer to meet later in the day but you really can’t control that stuff. This is the way it came down so we have prepare ourselves to race Ron. We know what he’s capable of so we’ll do everything we can to beat him.

“It takes a team to run for race wins and championships and we’ve got an exceptional group over here. Our summer hasn’t produced the results we’ve wanted so far but no ones gotten down or given up. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; everyone is working that much harder. There is no lack of effort in this pit.

“There’s always a lot going on and we’ve got three team cars that we need to have in the top 10 when the Countdown (playoffs) start in September.”

Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. PDT with Pro Stock scheduled to start around noon.

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