POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 3) — Three-time NHRA champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. will try to secure his fourth world title Sunday from the No. 4 qualifying position. Coughlin had a huge Saturday at Auto Club Raceway, expertly driving his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt through the fourth-best elapsed time of the weekend to earn one of the favored spots near the top of the qualifying ladder.

A 50-time national event winner, Coughlin was one of a handful of drivers who managed to take advantage of Saturday morning’s slightly cooler temperatures and move up the sheets with his 6.656 at 207.85 mph. The other three qualifying sessions all took place under warmer ambient temperatures in what’s turned into a spectacular weekend in Southern California.

“The time of day when we ran was better and the fact we had two full sessions of nitro and alcohol cars going down the strip and filling it in with rubber made the track so much better,” Coughlin said. “From 60 feet to the finish line it’s noticeably better. It also helped that we had two runs worth of data to learn from.”

Coughlin is currently second in the Countdown to One standings, 34 points behind leader Greg Anderson. The new Countdown playoff system used the first 17 races of the season to determine the best eight racers in each pro category. Four races later, the Countdown format trimmed the group down to four racers, two of which hail from Victor Cagnazzi Racing. Aside from Coughlin, his VCR teammate Dave Connolly is in the championship mix.

To win the title, Coughlin will need to advance two rounds further than Anderson and at least equal what Connolly does in eliminations.

“We have to just race and see where the chips fall,” Coughlin said. “Pro Stock is a game of inches and thousandths of a second and there is only so much you can do as far as how the ladder falls or who you’re going to race and when you’re going to race them. All I can do is race as hard as I can and hope it works out for this JEGS.com race team.

“We’ve made a marvelous run this year and to have two cars in the final four was very exciting and something everyone at Victor Cagnazzi Racing should be proud of when all is said and done. Hopefully, we can finish this deal off.”

Eliminations for the 43rd annual Auto Club NHRA Finals begin at 11 a.m. PT with Pro Stock hitting the strip somewhere around noon.

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