DALLAS (Sept. 21) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. failed to qualify his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt in the first two rounds of professional qualifying at the 22nd annual Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec at the Texas Motorplex. Coughlin’s best pass of 6.738 seconds at 205.51 mph left him nine-thousandths of a second short of the 16th spot. He’ll have two more chances to make the field Saturday, with sessions scheduled for 11:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

“It doesn’t look good right now, let’s not sugarcoat anything,” Coughlin said. “Certainly it would be better to be at the top of the sheets in a comfortable position but that’s not reality. What’s encouraging to me is that as bad as it looks on the surface, what’s right under the sheets is really, really good.

“Saturday’s first session will be critical for us. It probably won’t be as good as tonight’s session was but it should still be good enough for us to get in the show. We’ve got a lot of work to do but this team is made up of champions and they will rise to the occasion; I’m certain of that.”

Coughlin entered this weekend’s race third in the points. He needs to be in the top four after the next national event in Richmond, Va., to advance to the final round of the 2007 playoffs, the Countdown to One, which will be a two-race sprint to the finish that will decide the champion.

“We’ve been our own worst enemy,” Coughlin said. “There’s an onboard computer that follows 50 different channels of information and there are probably five critical ones that we tune the cars with. It tells you what it’s not happy about and then you go min there and fix it. We’re very close to where we need to be.

“Today’s runs were lost in the first 3-400 feet and that’s normally where we’re our strongest. I guess that’s why I’m not too stressed out because we know how to fix this car. We know what it wants. I’ve been in higher-stress deals than this. We’ll be fine.”

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