MEMPHIS (Oct. 5) — After being the only professional racer to make it through the regular season without a Round 1 loss, back-to-back and reigning world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. has now recorded two first round exits in the last three races — including Monday at Memphis Motorsports Park — to dim his championship hopes considerably with just three events left in the Countdown to 1 playoffs.
“This doesn’t feel real great, I must admit,” Coughlin said. “The championship outlook is suddenly pretty bleak. But we’ll keep fighting until the end and see what happens. We won’t quit until they tell us we’re done.”
It’s a disappointing turn for Coughlin, who led everyone, regardless of class, throughout the regular season with seven national event victories and 14 events atop the Full Throttle point standings.
“This is pretty unexpected because we ran so well in qualifying, especially in that final session on Saturday afternoon,” Coughlin said. “We were second quickest of the round and the car had responded so well every pass, going straight down the track. We even had an extra day to prepare everything with the rain delay, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be for us.”
Coughlin did a great job of keeping his Chevrolet Cobalt off the retaining wall in his Round 1 race against Rodger Brogdon early Monday afternoon. His car made a big move towards the wall the moment he let off the clutch but he still managed to gather it back and make a competitive pass.
Incredibly, he posted a 6.690 at 208.10 mph but Brogdon had already crossed with a 6.662 at 207.66 mph in his Cobalt.
“It was a bad run, what can I say,” Coughlin said. “It went real hard left and I had my hands full for a moment. Somehow, we still managed to go through gears and I tried my best to run Rodger down. We were gaining on him; we just didn’t have enough racetrack to catch him.
“We’re not going to hang our heads by any means. We’ll finish the year out as strong as we can and if the chips happen to fall our way and we can make one last run then we’ll be ready to race. No matter what, this has been a banner year for JEGS Racing.”
Up next, Coughlin and crew will head to Richmond, Va., for the fourth annual Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, which begin Friday.
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