READING, Pa. (August 18) — An overnight cool front made Maple Grove Raceway a much more agreeable place Saturday and three-time POWERade champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. took full advantage of the improved conditions.

The 50-time national event winner knocked more than a tenth of a second off his previous best time, climbing up to fourth place with a strong 6.610-second run at 208.62 mph in his Chevrolet Cobalt.

“That was a huge run,” Coughlin said. “It was one of those typical early-morning sessions that we all knew before the first car went down the track that it was going to be much quicker.

“It gets a little nerve-wracking as you’re waiting your turn because you hear what the guys in front of you are running and you know you have to step it up if you want to stay in the show, but both sides of this Victor Cagnazzi race team answered the call and were able to get both me and my teammate Dave Connolly up near the top of the ladder.”

A full night’s sleep also helped Coughlin improve his overall health as the 37-year-old from Delaware, Ohio, continues to recover from sinusitis.

“Another day of antibiotics and plenty of rest sure helped,” Coughlin said. “I went into the hospital in the middle of the night Thursday and they gave me a shot to facilitate the healing process. I think that helped as well. I feel a bunch better.”

Coughlin will open eliminations against Kurt Johnson, who qualified 13th with a 6.609 at 209.79 mph. The two men have faced each other four times this year with Jeg holding a 3-1 record.

Eliminations begin around noon EDT and will be carried in same-day tape delay on ESPN2.

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