SONOMA, Calif. (July 26) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. used his fourth semifinal finish of the season to regain control of the Full Throttle points lead over recent challenger Mike Edwards. Entering this weekend’s 22nd annual Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals  at Infineon raceway with a narrow 20-point edge over Edwards, Coughlin was able to push that number to 60, or the equivalent of three rounds of elimination racing.

“We got our car to go straight and the numbers showed that,” Coughlin said. “We actually had the car to beat today and I was hopeful we’d get to the final round and have a shot at putting this one away but Jason (Line) had a great light against us in the semis and that was the difference. My congratulations go out to him; he went on and won the race, so obviously it was his day.”

Coughlin’s Chevrolet Cobalt was third quickest of the opening round when he posted a weekend-best pass of 6.579 seconds at 209.79 mph against Greg Stanfield, who went 6.621 at 209.01 mph.

He then carded the top elapsed time of the quarterfinals when he zipped down the racetrack in 6.592 seconds at 209.59 mph against Allen Johnson’s 6.606 at 209.65 mph.

That impressive pass gave him lane choice over Jason Line, who managed to leave the launch pad with a great .020-second reaction time, ahead of Coughlin’s .040-second start. That advantage was just enough to hold off the hard-charging Coughlin as Line won with a 6.612 at 209.23 mph ahead of Coughlin’s 6.605 at 209.56 mph.

“We’ve won our share of those close races this season but you can’t win them all,” Coughlin said. “Jason did a nice job there.

“Overall, I can’t be upset one bit. We had the quickest car of both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds and we had an excellent shot at winning today. That’s all you can ask for as a driver.

“It’s also nice to have gained a little breathing room on Mike. He went out in Round 1 and that amped up the pressure a bit because we knew we had a chance to build on our lead. We’re up three rounds now with just 12 left before the points reset for the Countdown to 1 and we’d love to wrap up the No. 1 seed so we can get those (20) bonus points at the start of the playoffs. So far, so good.”

Coughlin has led the points for 11 consecutive races. His five national event victories are the best in the class and tie Ron Capps for best in the NHRA pro ranks.

The tour now takes two weeks off before the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in mid August in Brainerd, Minn.


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