BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 10) — World champion drag racer Jeg Coughlin Jr. will attempt to race to his third final in a row at this weekend’s 29th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.

A victor two races ago in Sonoma, Calif., Coughlin followed up his Wine Country win by claiming runner-up honors at the last NHRA tour stop in Denver. He’s hoping to keep his hot streak alive in the final event of the regular season to launch his 2010 championship aspirations for the Chevrolet Cobalt team.

“The mode we’re in right now is to keep this momentum going through Brainerd and on into the Countdown to 1 playoffs,” Coughlin said. “The U.S. Nationals in Indy, the grand daddy of all drag races, is always a big event and this year, for the first time ever, it’s the start of our playoffs. That makes it imperative to use Brainerd as a springboard into those final six races. We want the championship back.”

It’s easy for Coughlin to imagine further success in central Minnesota. He’s claimed the Brainerd trophy three times in the past — in 1999, 2002, and 2007 — and added a runner-up result at the facility in 2000. Additionally, Coughlin collected the Super Stock title at BIR in 1997.

“BIR’s a facility we enjoy very much,” Coughlin said. “Plus, it’s back at sea level where we tend to run at our best so it’s an exciting prospect for us to return there. The last race at sea level was Sonoma and we won. Then we changed the entire car around for the Mile-High Nationals in Denver and still managed to make it to the finals. Now we’re back down at sea level and ready to rock and roll.

“This is the most organized and methodical team I’ve ever been a part of. I think that’s why we’re doing so well. We’re all working really well together and I’ve been pleased with my driving as well so it seems like everything is working for us right now.”

A solid third in the Full Throttle championship points, Coughlin has three Pro Stock victories on his 2010 scorecard (Houston, Atlanta, and Sonoma) as well as two runner-up finishes in St. Louis and Denver.

“We’ll need to keep those wins coming if we want to have a chance at the title,” said Coughlin, a four-time Pro Stock champion. “I’m expecting all the top teams to step it up down the stretch, including Mike Edwards. He’s too good of a driver and that’s too good of a team for them to stay down for long. But he’s not the only one we’ve got to worry about. There are several teams capable of going the distance.

“We’ll just stick to our gameplan and run the car the way we know how to run it and see how it all shakes out. I like our chances, in Brainerd and in the playoffs.”

Pro Stock qualifying begins with two sessions at 2:45 and 5:30 p.m. CDT Friday. Qualifying highlights will be shown Saturday evening on ESPN2.


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