SEATTLE (July 21) — Rain ruined three of the four rounds of professional qualifying for the 20th annual Schuck’s Auto Supply NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways but second-place championship points earner Jeg Coughlin Jr. still managed to qualify his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt in the elimination field.

Coughlin’s slightly off-pace 6.704 at 206.29 mph placed him 12th overall and sets up a monster first-round elimination match-up with POWERade points leader Greg Anderson, who qualified fifth with a 6.688 at 207.18 mph. Anderson is 4-1 versus Coughlin this season but is struggling of late with three first-round losses in the last five events.

“We’re thinking upset!” Coughlin said. “Both Greg and I have top-four cars and I would imagine we’ll have a great race. It’s a head-to-head match-up that’s worthy of the final round but it’ll just happen earlier in the day. It represents a great chance for us to gain some more ground in the points. Greg always brings out the best in us.

“I’m excited for the chance, actually. We want to go into Indy with the No. 1 by our name and we can take a step towards that tomorrow morning. I believe we have the car and the team to be up for the challenge.”

Across the Victor Cagnazzi Racing pit from Coughlin, his teammate Dave Connolly is the No. 1 qualifier for the first time this year. Coughlin’s group hopes to glean some information from Connolly’s 6.664-second, 206.42-mph effort.

“Certainly we can learn a lot from Dave’s run,” Coughlin said. “It’s one of the big advantages of the two-car teams, and one Greg and Jason [Line] have been using to their advantage for the last four years. You can definitely look at things like jetting and timing and see what works best.

“I’m excited for Dave. That side of the team has had some bad breaks lately and this will certainly lift their spirits. I know they’ve been working extremely hard over there.”

Eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. PDT.

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