There are no hard and fast rules about the way drivers must stage their racecars for a drag race and in fact much of the gamesmanship that occurs in NHRA competition takes place under the Christmas Tree.

In chasing his second of four Pro Stock world championships in 2002, Jeg Coughlin Jr. played a superb hand in unsettling two of his fiercest rivals en route to winning the prestigious U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis for the second time. Racing through to the semifinals, Coughlin found himself opposite skillful veteran Allen Johnson. Searching for an edge, Coughlin uncharacteristically pre-staged and staged his car in one fluid motion, completely throwing off Johnson’s rhythm, which ultimately cost him the race by the scant .004-second head start Coughlin gained after both men ran identical 6.945s.

The tactic worked so well that Coughlin tried it again in the final round against two-time world champion Jim Yates, who had a much quicker car that day. Coughlin’s starting line prowess resulted in a massive .038-second holeshot that allowed him to steal away the win with a 6.953 to Yates’ quicker but losing 6.934.

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