MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Jeg Coughlin didn’t win the hefty $310,000 top prize in the annual BTE Million Dollar Drag Race, but after winning seven elimination rounds against one of the toughest fields of sportsman drivers ever assembled, it was hard for him to be too disappointed.

“I gave it my best shot but came up just a little short,” said the three-time NHRA world champ, who earned $15,000 for his efforts. “For many years, I have had people tell me how special this race is and now that I’ve experienced it for myself, I think I understand what they were talking about. With so much money at stake, the atmosphere here is just electric. It definitely is the Super bowl of sportsman racing.”

Coughlin, who has racked up a number of big E.T. bracket racing victories this season, drove his JEGS Mail Order dragster to a number of close victories before losing to Steve Witherow of Sumerduck, Va., by just sixteen-thousandths of a second.

“Almost every race I had was very close,” said Coughlin. “Of course, that is typical for events like this. Just about everyone here is highly skilled and capable of putting together a great run at just about any time.”

The annual BTE Million Dollar Drag Race is the richest event of the season for sportsman drag racers. Drivers who enter the main event must post a $2,000 entry fee and the final payout is based on the number of entries. On Saturday, a record field of 295 drivers competed for a top prize of $310,000, which was won by Greg Sesti of St. Charles, Mo. Sesti defeated 2005 Million Dollar race champion Jeff Rucks of Cullman, Ala., in the final round.

Coughlin also advanced to the sixth round of Thursday’s gambler’s event and turned in a quarter-final finish on Friday night during the Barker’s Trailer Sales, event, which paid $30,000 to eventual winner Leon Robertson of Nashville, Tenn. In the second Barker Trailer Sales race on Sunday, Coughlin was still in competition when the event was postponed due to rain. The 12 drivers remaining elected to split the purse of nearly $40,000.

“I drove my dragster and my brother John’s dragster this weekend and both cars were awesome,” said Coughlin. “I won a lot of rounds and had a lot of fun. This was my first experience with the Million Dollar race and hopefully, my schedule will allow me to return next year.”

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