DALLAS (Sept. 23) — Three-time world Jeg Coughlin Jr. was out-running first round opponent Larry Morgan down the Texas Motorplex’s quarter-mile Sunday morning before his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt started creeping ever closer to the centerline and out of the very narrow groove of the all-concrete track. Try as he might to get the car to correct, Coughlin couldn’t save the run and by half-track he was in trouble.

“I had to push in the clutch and surrender the run,” the 50-time NHRA national event winner said. “I didn’t have a choice. The car was going right and it’s not like you can just muscle the car back over. If you do that here you end up on the roof. I had the wheel cocked pretty good but it wouldn’t respond. Once I got out of the groove it was over.”

Onboard computer data shows Coughlin would have run a 6.670 had he been able to carry it through the finish line. It would have been his best elapsed time of the weekend and would have easily beaten Morgan’s 6.727.

“That’s drag racing,” Coughlin said. “We never really got in sync this weekend but at least we were able to stay in the mix a little bit. We’ve got a weekend off and we’re going to spend a lot of time at Valdosta, Ga., testing the wheels off this JEGS.com Chevy. We’re getting down to the wire and we have a championship to try and win. There is every reason to go-for-broke at this point.”

Coughlin entered this event third in the points. This is the second to last race before the next cutoff in the playoffs trims the field down to just four drivers eligible to win the 2007 title. It appears Coughlin will stay in the top four barring a miracle run by either Jason Line or Morgan.

“It’s important to stay in the top four because it’s always better to be ahead than behind in the points,” Coughlin said. “Especially with just one race to go in the Countdown to Four. But the reality is that the next race is going to be a big ol’ dogfight among five of us trying to lock up those final two spots. We’ll need to be running strong if we want to move on.”

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