BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 17) – Five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. is gaining confidence with every run he makes.

The driver of the Dodge Avenger was able to get a confidence-boosting first round win before bowing out in a quarterfinal loss to Mike Edwards at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals on Sunday at Bristol Dragway.

“I felt a pretty good amount of confidence,” Coughlin said. “Mike has been a little bit faster than us all weekend here. He ran real well in the first round, but honestly I thought we could pick up our car a shade as well. We didn’t and even spotted him a little at the start to boot. So, it just wasn’t meant to be.”

Coughlin, with new co-crew chief Eddie Guarnaccia helping make the calls alongside Tomi Laine, opened final eliminations with a holeshot victory over Greg Anderson – .027 to .065.

He followed that up with another solid run – a 6.695 second pass at 206.16 mph, but he was beaten on the start by Edwards – .035 to .017.

“That first round, I couldn’t quite hear the crowd inside my car, but it sounded like they went nuts,” Coughlin said. “We brought the house down on that one. Really, though, we were just looking to just continue to play off that round and get a win against Mike Edwards as well but it didn’t happen. We will take the positives out of this, and the few negatives that we had and tune those up.”

After taking a week off, Coughlin and the team will head to St. Louis for some testing as he continues to get in tune with the car and Guarnaccia.

“We learned a lot this weekend,” Coughlin said. “Yes we have some work to do on the car. And yes, we have some work to do with the rest of the program. But, I am really pleased with the outcome here.”

After some testing, where Coughlin said he hopes to gain at least a hundredth or two closer to the front of the pack, the team heads to Chicago for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, June 28-July 1, at Route 66 Raceway.

“For me personally and our team as well, I think the big shot in the arm for us is the momentum we just gained here,” Coughlin said. “From last week testing here at Bristol, to this week running here at Bristol, I am hopeful that our test will be as momentum building as the previous two. And Chicago will be nothing but better opportunities for us – a faster car, a more efficient car and get me and the team more comfortable.”

He’ll also enjoy the racing action in the JEGS Allstars race, which takes place during the NHRA National event in Chicago.

“(Chicago) is the site of the JEGS All-Star race, which hosts the best of the best from all seven divisions around the country,” Coughlin said. “I will be front and center watching the action there. I have not only been a part of that race many times, but won it a couple of times as well. So, I know what is going through a lot of drivers’ minds. It is neat the see the camaraderie of that style event unfold in Chicago.”


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