POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 5) — Currently ranked second in the Pro Stock championship points, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and his JEGS.com Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro are mathematically alive in the title hunt. But entering the race 140 points off the lead, and even factoring in the points-and-a-half to be awarded on race day, Coughlin is aiming for the more realistic goals at this weekend's 54th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals.
"Pomona is going to be an important race for us as a team," Coughlin said. "It’s a big positioning race for us to figure out really who will finish two through seven. It’s very open right now. Not only do we want to qualify well and win four rounds on Sunday, we would like to finish as high as No. 2 in the points standings. But even though we're there going in, it's going to be a fight to stay there. We are just going to focus on that."
Coughlin has qualified extremely well in the first five races of the Countdown to the Championship, qualifying No. 1 three times. He's raced as far as the final round once, in Dallas, before settling for runner-up honors.
Overall this year, Coughlin has won three times and come in second twice, including at the U.S. Nationals in Indy. He's also amassed five low qualifier honors.
Pomona has been a great racetrack for Coughlin through the years, as his six victories would indicate. He was victorious here in at the Winternationals in 1999 and 2000, the NHRA Finals in 1999, 2005 and 2007, and the special 50th anniversary race in 2001.
"It’s Pomona, the final race of the season, and emotions are high," Coughlin said. "I’m excited on many levels and for many reasons.
"We’re excited to crown all of the new champions not only in the Mello Yello series but also the Lucas Oil classes as well. There's just a lot of neat stuff going on and we still have some ambitions of our own at a track where we've had great successes in the past. It’s going to be a big race for us as a team as we try to continue some great momentum and end the year in style."
Aside from his five Pro Stock championships, won in 2000, 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2013, Coughlin was runner-up to the crown in 1998 and 1999. He also finished third in 2003, and fifth in 2001, 2009 and 2014.
Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 12:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m., Friday, and noon and 2:30 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will air first day qualifying action from 7:30-8:30 p.m., Friday. Live eliminations will air on FOX Sports 1 from 1-4:30 p.m., Sunday. (All times are local and subject to change.)