POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 7) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. began his third reign as the POWERade Pro Stock champion with a decent 6.651-second pass at 207.98 mph Thursday afternoon at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The steady pass in his JEGS.com Cobalt placed him third in a field of 22 drivers in town for the annual Winternationals, the traditional season opener of the NHRA series.

“We had a ton of confidence coming into this race after making 10 great passes last weekend in Las Vegas,” said Coughlin, who won the preseason Pontiac Showdown test race last Saturday. “We got up to the line and as soon as I let out the clutch the tires spun. They spun again in second, third, and fourth and really didn’t calm down until I grabbed fifth gear.

“The good news is we have plenty of power and despite all that wheel spin we still ended up third on the ladder so we’re very, very encouraged. Our back-half numbers were across the top of the sheets so if we can take care of the spinning we’ll be fast.”

Coughlin and the rest of the Pro Stock drivers will have three more qualifying runs — one Friday and two Saturday — before eliminations begin on Sunday.

When the 2007 season ended at this facility, Coughlin emerged as both the new champion and the race winner. Combined with his win at the Vegas test, Coughlin is looking to extend his winning streak to three straight events.

“It’s great to have found a rhythm already,” said Coughlin, a 51-time national event winner. “The entire Victor Cagnazzi Organization worked so hard over the off-season and you never really know who you’ll stack up against everyone come February so to start like this is encouraging to say the least.”

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