READING, Pa. (Aug. 23) — Responding to increased pressure from the chase pack, back-to-back Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. showed why he’s one of the best drivers in the history of the sport by winning the 25th annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals late Sunday night at Maple Grove Raceway.

The defending event champion helped himself tremendously on the day, beating the two men closest to him in the rankings — Mike Edwards and Jason Line — en route to his 76th Pro Stock final. He then dispatched Johnny Gray with his best run of the weekend, a 6.634 at 207.05 mph, which was more than enough to top Gray’s 6.675 at 206.61 mph.

“This is fantastic,” Coughlin said. “You know we struggled in the two qualifying sessions we had in between the rain showers those first two days and really we were still searching in the first round today. But my Dad (Jeg Coughlin Sr.) and Roy (Simmons, crew chief) got it figured out by the second round and we went from there.

“We had that huge holeshot win against Mike in the quarterfinals and that really got us going. Then we got Jason and beat him with another great pass. Those two wins really helped a lot in the Countdown points because the three of us had all bunched up there at the top of the standings.”

With the win, the 60th of his career and 47th in the class, Coughlin increased his lead in the Full Throttle rankings from 27 to 65 points. Coughlin has led the Pro Stock points since early April, a span of 13 races. Should he maintain the top ranking through the next national event in Indianapolis, he’ll receive a 20-point bonus when the six-race playoffs start on Sept. 18-20.

“Starting the Countdown in the No. 1 spot has definitely been a goal of ours all season,” Coughlin said. “We’ve had six huge wins now plus a win in the K&N Challenge, so we’d certainly love to finish out the regular season strong over there in Indy and get those bonus points for the playoffs.”


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