NORWALK, Ohio (July 1) — Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s incredible summer of drag racing continued in his home state of Ohio with a final four finish at the inaugural NHRA race in Norwalk. The semifinal run kept the 37-year-old from Delaware comfortably in second place in the world rankings, and he was able to close the gap on current leader Greg Anderson from 201 to 167 points. That’s the equivalent of eight rounds of racing.

“We were hoping for our third final-round appearance in a row but we encountered a small transmission problem in the semis against my teammate Dave Connolly,” Coughlin said. “I got through second gear just fine and then something broke in there and I was just dead in the water. At least Dave got the win so we kept it in the Cagnazzi Racing family. I’m very pleased with our effort this weekend.”

Coughlin opened the day with a huge win over the higher-qualified car of Kurt Johnson. A longtime friend of Coughlin’s, Johnson actually left first, but Coughlin’s Chevrolet Cobalt quickly made up the ground and the three-time world champion was able to catch and pass his foe for the win. The final numbers had him winning with a 6.651 at 207.11 mph to Johnson’s 6.676 at 207.15 mph.

In Round 2, Coughlin easily handled Erica Enders, beating the most successful female racer in class history with a strong 6.648 at 207.43 mph against Enders’ 6.724 at 204.88 mph. It was Coughlin’s best pass of the weekend.

Judging by his earlier performances, Coughlin might have gotten a win over Connolly as the driver of the second Victor Cagnazzi racecar posted a 6.684 at 207.05 mph, but Coughlin’s broken tranny made it a moot point.

“We probably would have run another 6.65 or so,” Coughlin said. “But that’s racing. Things break and you have to deal with it. We’re still on top of the world right now and Dave and I remain second and third in the points so it’s all good.

“I do want to thank all of the Ohio fans and the numerous employees of that stopped by this weekend to say hello and to tell us they were rooting for us. It’s always a treat to race at home and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I also had my little man Jeggy with me and that was very cool.”

Coughlin will resume racing in five days at the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn.

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