CHICAGO (June 10) – Jeg Coughlin Jr. won the 10th annual Torco Race Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals Sunday at Route 66 Raceway, beating defending POWERade series champion Jason Line with a big holeshot start that translated to a fairly large two-hundredths of a second win.

Coughlin was keyed up for the final, which he entered without the advantage of lane choice after running a slightly slower elapsed time than Line did in the semifinals. He responded with a .002-second reaction time — just two-thousandths of a second off a perfect start — to help his slower 6.658 at 207.37 mph beat Line’s quicker but losing 6.656 at 208.07 mph.

“How about that!” Coughlin said as he climbed from his Chevrolet Cobalt. “This is the ultimate feeling. I took almost a year off and raced sportsman stuff and was lucky enough to win some big races but nothing compares to winning a Pro Stock race. I’m proud of my team and Victor Cagnazzi [team owner]. He finally has the team he’s dreamed of and I’m happy to be a part of it.

“My crew chief, Roy Simmons, and the guys gave me the best car I’ve ever had in a single race weekend. We won the Full Throttle Award for having the most consistent car in qualifying and I had a great ride under me again today. It’s huge for a driver to know he has the car to win and we had it all weekend.”

Coughlin’s last Pro Stock win came at the end of 2005 when he won the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif. But after taking most of 2006 off, it had actually only been 11 races since he tasted victory. He now has 48 NHRA wins, including 35 in Pro Stock.

Starting the day out of the No. 3 spot after qualifying with a quick 6.632 at 208.17 mph, Coughlin’s Chevrolet Cobalt ran like a bracket car in carrying him to his 55th professional-level final. He beat first-round opponent Mike Edwards with a 6.663 to Edwards’ 6.702. He then edged Kurt Johnson by a 6.665 to 6.683-second margin, before nipping Larry Morgan, 6.679 to 6.705.

“Our yellow and black JEGS team is letting those KB Racing cars know that we’re here and that’s exciting,” Coughlin said. ‘I know our 400 associates back home at JEGS will be thrilled about this win.”

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