RICHMOND, Va. (Oct. 5) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. entered this weekend’s second annual Torco Race Fuels NHRA Nationals knowing he needs a strong showing to place his Chevrolet Cobalt in the Countdown to One field, which will be set at the end of this event. He’s off to a great start, shaking off a lengthy rain delay that swallowed up one of Friday’s two qualifying sessions to grab the No. 2 position in the field.

Coughlin’s 6.661-second pass at 207.27 mph was second only to teammate Dave Connolly’s 6.649 at 207.24 mph and was quicker than all the other racers trying to get into the top four in the points. Only the first four racers in the POWERade points at the end of this event will advance to the Countdown to One, out of which the 2007 champion will emerge.

“We tested extensively before this event and it obviously paid off,” Coughlin said. “As simple as it sounds, the shortest way down a drag strip in a straight line and we were having some issue with keeping our Chevy perfectly straight, especially down low. The guys worked on that during the test and we felt confident we had solved the problem but until you get here and run, you’re never sure.

“Of course, now that we’ve run a nice number like that compares well with the other teams it really picks up our spirits moving forward. It was a nice, smooth pass and I couldn’t be happier.”

The qualifying round that was lost to rain will not be made up so Coughlin and the rest of the Pro Stock drivers will have just two chances remaining to improve on their Friday night times.

“Normally, Friday night is ‘the run’ to make your mark but with the rain and the cloud cover you just never know how tomorrow will turn out. We’ve seen it before where the entire field is reset on Saturday so we can’t relax, but if everyone else is able to run quicker, we should be able to also.

“Let me say that I’m having a blast with all this Countdown stuff. It’s exciting and my pop has been along for the ride the last few races and he’s loving it to.”

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