INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 4) — Defending U.S. Nationals Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. used a track-record pass of 6.580 seconds at 209.39 mph Saturday evening to put his Chevrolet Cobalt on the provisional pole at the 56th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil.

A winner at two of the last three races on the Full Throttle tour, Coughlin proved he’s serious about earning his fifth U.S. Nationals trophy and challenging for a fifth Pro Stock world title with a run that pushed all the class heavyweights down one slot.

“The fight for the No. 1 spot is always a challenge, especially here at the U.S. Nationals,” Coughlin said. “It feels fantastic to bring it back to the JEGS pit, even if it’s just for one night. Tomorrow’s going to be another battle because the conditions are supposed to be similar to what we saw today. Pro Stock cars love it when it’s cool and dry like this.”

Coughlin entered this race as the hottest driver in the factory hot rod class after winning national events in Sonoma, Calif., and Brainerd, Minn., to go along with a runner-up result in Denver. Overall, the 40-year-old from Delaware, Ohio, has four victories this season, which is second only to points leader Mike Edwards’ eight wins in the early part of the year.

“The confidence is building,” Coughlin said. “We need to keep it rolling. I know we want to make sure we dot all the ‘i’s’ and cross all the ‘t’s’ because you certainly don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot at this point in the chase. We’ll triple-check everything before every run and if there’s a chance to improve tomorrow that we’ll take a poke at it.”

Professional qualifying wraps up with two sessions Sunday, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. ESPN2 will show highlights in primetime. Check local listings for times.


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