ATLANTA (April 29) – Although he didn’t leave Atlanta Dragway with the trophy, Jeg Coughlin Jr. was pumped about his performance this weekend as his quarterfinal finish lifted him to third place in the POWERade championship chase.

Coughlin erased Greg Stanfield in the opening round with a quick 6.665-second pass at 206.83 mph to move around teammate Dave Connolly in the world rankings. He then lost a heartbreaker to Richie Stevens in Round 2 when Stevens’ quick start at the line translated to a holeshot win at the other end. Coughlin’s quicker 6.680 at 207.02 mph was not enough to overcome the starting-line deficit and he lost to Stevens’ 6.703 at 206.42 mph.

“We had the better car but just didn’t get it done,” Coughlin said. “I had a decent light (.046 seconds) but Richie was really up for the race because he had a terrific .011 launch. That’s tough to beat and I take my hat off to him and that team over there.

“It’s exciting to move up in the points even at the expense of my teammate Dave. We’re both still right there. Of course we wanted to make a move on the two guys ahead of us but we were only able to gain ground on one of them today. The encouraging news is that we’re keeping them in range and our cars are staying consistently quick.”

The 36-year-old Coughlin won’t have long to wait to get back on the racetrack as the NHRA tour heads immediately to Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis for next weekend’s 11th annual O’Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals.

“The team is fully prepared for this quick turnaround,” Coughlin said. “We’ve tested extensively over the last few weeks in anticipation of this stretch of races and I’m sure they’ll be making a quick stop at the shop in Charlotte before heading west.

“St. Louis is being run a lot earlier this year so we won’t have the brutal heat to deal with. As such, it’s been moved from a night race to a regular schedule. Basically, no one will have any data to work from so we’re all starting from the same place. It should be interesting and I already like our chances because the guys on this team are always ready for challenges like that. I’m ready to roll.”

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