LAS VEGAS (Nov. 1) — Defending world champion and current Pro Stock point leader Jeg Coughlin Jr. will enter Sunday’s elimination rounds of the eighth annual ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals as the prohibitive favorite to win the event. The 38-year-old from Delaware, Ohio, wrapped up his third low qualifier award of the season and earned the 15th pole of his career with a 6.703 at 205.47 mph.

Coughlin’s Chevrolet Cobalt was quickest in three of the four time trials. His elapsed time set a record for The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“This car continues to run extremely well,” Coughlin said. “It’s an exciting time with all that’s going on in the championship chase and to have a super-fast racecar at this critical juncture of the season makes it all the better.”

Through qualifying, Coughlin has extended his point lead over all of his pursuers. He is now 78 ahead of Kurt Johnson, 83 up on Dave Connolly, and 83 in front of Greg Anderson.

“Every point is big, obviously, but right now I don’t even want to count points,” Coughlin said. “My entire focus is on winning the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals. If we go out there tomorrow and turn on some win lights, the points all fall into the right spot any way so that’s our plan of attack.

“Everyone that is still alive in the points is capable of winning the race and catching us in the standings so we just need to do our best to hold our position. All we can control is what we do so we’ll get set for Round 1 and go from there.”

As the No. 1 qualifier, Coughlin will have lane choice over No. 16 qualifier Rickie Jones, a candidate for the 2008 Rookie of the Year award. Jones’ best pass in qualifying was a 6.758 at 202.79 mph.

“Rickie’s a great young racer with a long pedigree in the sport,” Coughlin said. “We won’t be taking him lightly; I can assure you of that.”

Pro Stock eliminations will begin around noon.

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