POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 1) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. posted the quickest quarter-mile pass of the opening day of professional qualifying for the 43rd annual Auto Club NHRA Finals to put his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt in the provisional No. 1 position.

Coughlin roared down Pomona Raceway with a 6.689-second run at 206.95 mph to outpace the field of professional competing at the season-ending race. It was a big effort for the JEGS.com team as they entered the race second in the Countdown to One points, 34 behind leader Greg Anderson. Coughlin is also 14 up on third-place Dave Connolly, his teammate at Victor Cagnazzi Racing.

“Every point is critical at this juncture,” Coughlin said. “The deficit we have to Greg can’t be made up in qualifying. In fact, we can’t even make up a round (worth 20 points each), but we can send a message that we’ve got the best car on the property and that we’re doing all we can to win this championship.

“We can put Dave more than one round back, which would give us a little cushion behind us, but the bottom line is that race day is going to be where the big moves are made. We’re excited with our start but we have a long way to go yet.”

There are three more qualifying sessions set for this weekend, including one Friday and two more Saturday.

“The track’s pretty good already but it’s going to get better and better as the weekend goes along,” said Coughlin, a five-time Pomona winner. “The Top Fuel and Funny Car guys and girls help put down a lot of rubber when they run and they hadn’t been down before us today so the track should be better tomorrow by all means. Then, if it cools off Saturday morning, we can try to rotate the earth. We’ll be ready no matter what we encounter.”

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