BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 16) — The second of the new generation powerplants from Victor Cagnazzi Racing’s engine shop has lifted point leader and reigning back-to-back series champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. to the No. 2 qualifying position at the ninth annual Thunder Valley Nationals.

Coughlin’s Chevrolet Cobalt trailed only Mike Edwards’ Pontiac GXP during both days of qualifying. After Friday’s action, Coughlin was .014 seconds off Edwards’ pace. By Saturday afternoon, he’d closed that gap to just .004 seconds.

“The guys at the engine shop have delivered another awesome piece for us,” Coughlin said. “We’re thrilled with the early numbers on this motor. I’m ready for race day now.”

Officially, Coughlin’s 6.712 at 205.85 mph from Friday night will serve as his run of record. However, it was the 6.738 he ran in Saturday’s heat that had him the most excited.

“Generally, those Friday night runs aren’t very indicative of the conditions we’ll see on race day so you look more at what you do when the sun’s shining on the track,” Coughlin said. “The fact we gained ground on Mike in Round 4 is really something.

“Of course, this is Bristol and anything can happen with the weather, but I’m confident in this group of professionals that we’ll be able to adapt to whatever Mother Nature throws at us.”

As the No. 2 qualifier, Coughlin will open elimination action with lane choice over No. 15 qualifier Ronnie Humphrey, who ran a best of 6.792 at 203.25 mph. Coughlin is 8-2 lifetime against Humphrey.

Coming into this event, Coughlin leads the Pro Stock class with three victories this season and has raced to four finals in a row.


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