SEATTLE (July 20) — The closest race of Sunday’s opening round of professional eliminations at Pacific Raceways ended with reigning series Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. coming up three inches short of victory.

Coughlin managed to leave ahead of opponent Mike Edwards by two-thousandths of a second at the starting line, but Edwards’ was able to out-run Coughlin and his Chevrolet Cobalt by three-thousandths of a second on the quarter-mile, making the final margin of victory one-thousandths of a second, or about three inches.

Officially, Edwards won with a 6.638 at 207.98 mph to Coughlin’s 6.641 at 208.14 mph.

“We made a good run at it,” Coughlin said. “Coming from the bottom half of the field we didn’t have lane choice and perhaps that was the difference. I guess we’ll never know. Certainly, we could have been more aggressive with the tune-up in that other lane, but that’s drag racing. No complaints here.

“We’re really all setting up for the Countdown to the Championship and we need to work out all the little things we want to figure out with the car and the tune-up right now. It’s hard to complain when you look at the sheets and we’re right there with the top cars every time, as we were again after that session. We’re just not getting the breaks right now, but that stuff tends to even out over time.”

The good news for Coughlin is that points leader Greg Anderson also lost in Round 1, meaning Coughlin won’t lose any ground to the top-ranked driver. He’ll try to close the gap again next weekend, July 25-27, during the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in California’s Sonoma Valley.

“Greg clinched his spot in the Countdown this weekend and I’m sure some more will fall into place soon, hopefully including our JEGS team,” Coughlin said. “Those last six races are the time to shine and go after the championship. We need to be ready to go once we get to Charlotte and that final run of races kicks off.”

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