CHICAGO (June 8) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. came within 6.7 seconds of successfully defending his Route 66 NHRA Nationals race title but settled for runner-up honors to Kurt Johnson instead Sunday evening at the super-track in Joliet, Ill. It was the third final of the year for the defending POWERade champion and kept him comfortably in second place in the points standings.

In eight rounds of racing this weekend, Coughlin’s Chevrolet Cobalt was the second quickest car in the field six times. It also led the field once and was third quickest on another occasion. The consistency earned the JEGS side of the Victor Cagnazzi Racing organization the Full Throttle Award for having the most reliable ride.

“Aside from coming up short in the final, this was a great weekend,” said Coughlin, a 39-time winner in the Pro Stock class. “We qualified on the pole, we were right at the top of the performance sheets every round, and we won the Full Throttle Award.

“We saw how Kurt was running all day and we got aggressive with the tune-up. I agreed with the calls they made. We tried to knock the scoreboard down and it was just a touch too much. When I let out the clutch we had too much power and it blew the tires right off. Credit to Kurt. Him and his dad were fast this weekend. They’re really coming on lately and it’s another team to watch.”

Coughlin rolled past Rickie Jones, Greg Stanfield, and Jason Line to reach his 63rd professional-level final round. With the points lead on the line, he and Johnson left within a blink of one another but soon thereafter Coughlin was severely spinning his tires and he elected to abort the run, with Johnson running away to a 6.733.

“I’m excited because we showed that we have one of the best teams in drag racing,” Coughlin said. “We have a great racecar, a great team owner, a talented crew, both at the track and back at the shop, great sponsors, and great fans. I’m having a lot of fun this season and the competition is really tough, which makes it a real challenge.

“We’ll take a week off, enjoy our families, and get ready for Englishtown (N.J.) on June 19-22. That’s a big race so we’ll be ready for it.”

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