For the second national event in a row, Jeg Coughlin had an opponent use a near-perfect .001-second reaction time to register an elimination-round knockout of his Jeg’s Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T. This time it was Jason Line delivering the blow in the quarterfinal round of the 25th annual NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

“In a way it’s a big compliment that your opponents feel the need to really gear up and cut a light against you,” Coughlin said. “But it’s painful to lose races by inches. It’s just the nature of this class and I take my hat off to Jason and that team. He might have been tough to beat any way.”

Coughlin posted a very respectable .027-second start against Line, but the reigning Rookie of the Year’s fast trigger and fast racecar combined to give him the win by seven hundredths of a second, with the final numbers showing Line’s 6.745-second, 203.65-mph run ahead of Coughlin’s 6.790 at 203.22 mph.

Earlier in the day, Coughlin waited out the first of two lengthy rain stoppages to post an easy win over first-round opponent “Tricky Rickie” Smith. After Smith attempted to play games at the starting line, a tactic he’s famous for, Coughlin quickly slipped the joker back in the deck and won going away, 6.814 seconds to 7.892.

“Ol’ Rickie always has something up his sleeve,” said Coughlin. “This time he waited a real long time to pre-stage and I heard him clear the motor a few times so I knew he was setting up to go all-in on me so I got myself prepared. Sure enough, he went all the way in and lit both lights. It was no big deal because I knew it was coming.”

Coughlin’s second-round showing moved him back into the POWERade top 10 into a tie for No. 8 position with his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Richie Stevens.

“It was a good weekend overall,” Coughlin said. “You always want to go rounds and move up in the points and we did both of those things today. Now we’ll head to our home track in Columbus and do everything we can to win a race for all our friends and family. It’s time.”

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