DALLAS (Sept. 21) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. came out on the winning side of the biggest single drag race of the year Sunday in Charlotte when he beat class leader Mike Edwards in the first round of the national event in Charlotte. But as good as that win was for the four-time Pro Stock champion, he couldn’t fully capitalize on the fortunate turn of events, dropping a quarterfinal tilt against Greg Stanfield an hour and a half later.

“We missed out on a huge opportunity right there,” Coughlin admitted. “That race against Mike, if he had won, it would have made it awfully tough for us to stay in the fight. To win it, on a holeshot at that, was such a big deal I felt like I should have pulled off at the top end and been handed the trophy. It was that crucial.

“Of course the best-case scenario would have been to roll on from there and gain as many points as we could on him, but it wasn’t meant to be. The car got a little loose at the launch in Round 2 and it was enough to cost us the race. At least we gained a little ground and are still right there in the lead pack. It’s sure getting exciting now.”

An optimist by nature, Coughlin already has his sights set on the future, beginning with this weekend’s 25th annual Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, just south of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Coughlin won this race in 2002 and was runner-up three times, in 2000, 2003, and 2008. He also was the low qualifier at the all-concrete strip in 2000, 2004, and 2008.

“The last four races of the year are at racetracks I consider to be favorites of mine so we’re very, very pumped up,” Coughlin said. “I’ve won at all four places, and Vegas and Pomona are probably the two tracks where I’ve had the most success so there’s every reason to be excited about the stretch run.

“The JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt is running exactly the way we want it to. Dallas is a tricky track, but it can be a drivers’ track too, which I think favors this team. I hope we’re up for the call.”

Qualifying begins with two sessions at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. Friday. Highlights of the time trials will be shown Saturday evening on ESPN2.


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