LAS VEGAS (Nov. 2) – JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. reached his 99th career Pro Stock final, getting there in the NHRA Toyota Nationals on Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Coughlin came up short, though, in the final round, dropping a close race to No. 1 qualifier and points leader Erica Enders-Stevens.
"Obviously the whole Elite (Motorsports) team had their act together there by Q4, and they were strong all day today," Coughlin said. "We had a car that could run with them there in the finals. We were just about a hundredth behind them in performance.
"I let my foot out on the clutch and I was thinking, 'Son of a gun, I didn't hit it as well as I wanted to.' I knew it was a .020 or somewhere around there and obviously didn't have any idea what she had. As it turned out, she put down a nice package."
Coughlin had a .032-second reaction time and made a pass of 6.596 seconds at 209.14 mph. That was a solid package, but Enders-Stevens was a tick better, making a run of 6.587 seconds at 209.36 mph to get the win.
"I'm real happy for the team," Coughlin said. "We've had a nice rebound after one little stumble there in Reading. Since then we've had a good car to drive and a nice, raceable, fast car."
Coughlin had a stellar weekend in Vegas, at a track where he's won five times in Pro Stock. He qualified No. 3 and then beat Aaron Stanfield in the first round, making a pass of 6.596 seconds at 208.91 mph to take down Stanfield's 6.670-second run at 206.76 mph.
That pitted him against teammate Allen Johnson in the second round, and both drivers were on top of their game. Coughlin left first with a .004 light, edging ahead of Johnson's .013 reaction time.
But Johnson slowed to a pass of 13.414 seconds at 62.82 mph, while Coughlin sped to the semifinals with a 6.626-second run at 208.14 mph.
Coughlin cut a .012 light in the semis against No. 2 qualifier Shane Gray and pulled away to the win with a run of 6.605 seconds at 208.46 mph. Gray's run was 6.647 seconds at 208.26 mph.
Coughlin and Johnson are now tied for fifth in the points standings, as Coughlin moved up three spots with his final-round appearance.
"We'll move to Pomona," Coughlin said, "and see if we can't sneak a win under our hat before we leave."
The 2014 season comes to a close with the Auto Club NHRA Finals on Nov. 14-16 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.