NORWALK, Ohio (June 28) — For the first time since mid-March, point leader Jeg Coughlin Jr. exited an NHRA national event in the quarterfinal round, losing to Mike Edwards Sunday in the second session of the season’s 12th race.

Bouts of heavy rain overnight and early Sunday morning made the newly-resurfaced racetrack in Northern Ohio tough to manage for many teams and Coughlin’s Chevrolet Cobalt went into severe tire shake just a few hundred feet into his race, resulting in an easy win for Edwards.

“We got a little too aggressive for what the track could hold and just shook the tires,” Coughlin said. “You know Mike’s going to be tough and he posted low elapsed time of the first round so we were getting after it. The track needed just a little more rubber and bite. Hat’s off to Mike, though, he got it down through there.”

Edwards has become a familiar foe for Coughlin as the two have halved their six races this year. In fact, Coughlin had won the last two national events coming into this weekend by beating Edwards in the final round. This time, Edwards got the round win with a 6.666 at 207.15 mph to Coughlin’s surrendering 10.141 at 91.38 mph.

“It would have been a great race at the other end,” Coughlin noted. “We got three hundredths on him at the starting line (.033 to .061 seconds) so if we had matched our opening pass it would have been very interesting.”

Earlier in the day, Coughlin pushed his career record against Rickie Jones to 4-0 with his fairly routine 6.693 at 206.04 mph more than enough for Jones’ 6.759 at 204.35 mph.

Despite Sunday’s result, the weekend was a memorable one for Coughlin as he won the $50,000 top prize in Saturday’s 25th annual K&N Horsepower Challenge. The special event invites the top eight qualifiers from the last 12 months to battle for the category’s largest cash payout. It was Coughlin’s third win in the prestigious race (1999, ’00, and ’09).

“No question we had a great weekend,” Coughlin said. “We’re at the midway point of the season now and we’re in first place with five wins so everything is working great for us. Now we’ll gear up for the Western Swing (consecutive races in Denver, Seattle, and Sonoma, Calif.) and do our best to keep the momentum going into the playoffs.”


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