RICHMOND, Va. (Oct. 7) — A big Sunday effort by Jeg Coughlin Jr. resulted in the three-time NHRA champion advancing to the final round of the Countdown to the Championship playoff. Coughlin jumped from fourth to third place with a quarterfinal result, meaning he’ll start the two-race Countdown to One just 20 points, or one round of action, behind points leader and teammate Dave Connolly.

“It’s a big day for Team JEGS and a huge day for Victor Cagnazzi Racing,” Coughlin said. “For Victor’s group to put two cars in the final Countdown to One deal is very impressive in this day and age of Pro Stock racing. It’s a real credit to the talented people he’s surrounded himself with at the track and at his shop back in North Carolina. Dave and I are the lucky guys that get to drive the cars and get all the credit but the hard work is done by many, many people.

“The cards all kind of fell into place for us with the guys that were big threats to us in the points all falling by the wayside before we ever made a pass today. By the time I got up there I was fairly certain that all I needed to do was win that opening round and I’d be in. It certainly lifted a load off my shoulders.”

Coughlin clinched his spot in the final four by defeating newcomer Tommy Brown in the opening round of eliminations. Brown gave the race away at the starting line when jumped the green light by -.068 seconds, drawing an immediate disqualification. Coughlin went on to run a 6.671 at 207.78 mph in his Chevrolet Cobalt o leapfrog Allen Johnson in the points. Johnson was beaten earlier in the session.

“The Tree took forever to count down and it obviously distracted Tommy,” Coughlin said. “I had my hands full through third gear and I didn’t even realize he had red-lighted until I was a considerable way down the track. I saw him out in front of me and I thought maybe I’d gotten killed on the Tree but it all turned out okay.

“I’m a little disappointed we didn’t respond better in Round 2. We made some adjustments but just didn’t find what we were looking for there. Regardless, we earned low qualifier honors, got the Full Throttle deal for the crew, and clinched a spot in the Countdown to One so we’ll be running for the championship. It’s all good.”

Coughlin and crew will have two weekends off before the Countdown to 1 begins Oct. 25-28 with the seventh annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“Don’t be surprised if this yellow and black Cobalt comes to life and makes a run over these last two races,” Coughlin said. “We’ve been showing some great numbers and it certainly feels like we’re on the cusp of some great things.”

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