Coughlin Sets Pace For Team Chevy at Bristol With Win in All-Chevy Pro Stock Final Cruz Pedregon Also Puts Chevy Impala in Funny Car Final BRISTOL, Tenn., July 8, 2007 - Team Chevy's racing red bowtie was quite visible this weekend at Bristol...
Coughlin Sets Pace For Team Chevy at Bristol With Win in All-Chevy Pro
Cruz Pedregon Also Puts Chevy Impala in Funny Car Final
BRISTOL, Tenn., July 8, 2007 - Team Chevy's racing red bowtie was quite visible this weekend at Bristol Dragway with an all-Chevy Pro Stock final and a runner-up finish in Funny Car after eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. Sportsman racers also got in on the fun as Peter Biondo won Super Stock in a Chevy Cobalt, Jeff Chandler drove a '67 Corvette to the Super Gas crown, and David Rampy used Chevy power in his '32 Bantam to win Comp Eliminator.
The Pro Stock final featured No. 1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin in his Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt against Kenny Koretsky in the Indicom Electric/Nitro Fish Chevy Cobalt. Despite appearing in his first final since Indy in 2004, Koretsky gave the two-time POWERade Pro Stock champ all he wanted as he used a .013 reaction time to get a jump on the Cagnazzi Racing entry before Coughlin ran him down for a photo-finish winning margin of .002 seconds. Coughlin had a winning elapsed time of 6.809 seconds at 203.22 mph to Koretsky's 6.839 e.t. at 201.82 mph, his second win of the season (Chicago) in five final rounds.
"To go coast to coast from a No. 1 qualifying effort to the winner's circle, what a great win," Coughlin said. "I think the last (six or) seven finals a Cagnazzi team car, either Dave Connolly or myself, have been in it. That's a real testament to the hard word the whole team's put in, and really I think the fruits of our hard work are still to come. We're sneaking up on Greg (Anderson) as far as the POWERade points go, and I think it's going to be even more exciting when they reset the points for the Countdown to the Championship. 'Captain Chaos,' Kenny Koretsky, he did a fantastic job today and his reaction times were just stellar. What a job he did with his team. I just barely, barely (won), and when I say barely, I mean two thousandths of a second I got by him just at the finish line. I looked over as soon as I put the car in fifth gear and I said, 'Oh man, come on, let's go.'"
After a slow start to the season, Coughlin has actually won more rounds (24-19) over the last nine races than Pontiac pilot and current points leader Greg Anderson, trimming the three-time Pro Stock champ's seemingly insurmountable margin down to 86 points. Coughlin's teammate Connolly is third in the drivers standings and Anderson's teammate Jason Line is fourth in a Pontiac.
"KB (Racing) has been just a picture of consistency the last four years winning the championships with Greg (Anderson) and Jason (Line), but we're trying to reel Greg in. I think mentally (being No. 1) certainly gives you an edge, without question, but also you've got more points than No. 2. Anytime you can get ahead in the points standings, that's a bonus. I think with the new playoff-style format, though, it's going to come down to climactic finishes. I think it's going to be outstanding."
Koretsky took out Anderson with a holeshot win in the first round after a near-perfect .001 reaction time, and did the same to Connolly in the semifinals with a .006 reaction time to reach his second career final round. In fact, the personable Koretsky had a stout .013 average for reaction time for his four rounds of eliminations today. Three Chevrolets made their way into the semifinals with Coughlin, Koretsky, and Connolly, and Justin Humphreys made it an all-GM Round 3 with his second career semifinal appearance in a Pontiac GTO.
In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon in the Advance Auto Parts Chevy Impala SS advanced to the final round for the second time this season before losing to 14-time Funny Car champ John Force. Force ran a final-round elapsed time of 4.993 seconds at 284.62 mph to Pedregon's 5.024 e.t. at 279.73 mph. This was the second consecutive race Pedregon has advanced to at least the semifinal round and he moves up to 7th in the Funny Car points standings. Tim Wilkerson qualified his Levi, Ray, & Shoup Chevy Impala SS No. 1 and had his best race weekend in 2007 as he advanced to the semifinals for the first time this season. He defeated fellow Chevy driver Del Worsham in Round 1 and Gary Scelzi in Round 2 before losing to eventual race-winner Force. Wilkerson's strong showing moved the Springfield, Ill., native up to 12th in the points standings, just 61 points (approximately three rounds) out of the elite eight to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship.
"Being No. 1 qualifier doesn't mean a thing on Sunday," Wilkerson said, "especially when the track's 125 degrees. We just want to start going some rounds and see if we can't make a move on the top eight by Indy."
In Top Fuel, Team Chevy's Larry Dixon in his Don Prudhomme Racing SkyTel dragster continued his recent hot streak by advancing to at least the semifinals for the third time in the last four races, including back-to-back wins at Chicago and Englishtown last month. After qualifying No. 7 for today's eliminations, the Avon, Ind., resident defeated Melanie Troxel in Round 1 and Dave Grubnic in Round 2 before bowing out to Brandon Bernstein in the semis. He sits right behind Bernstein in the points standing in third place.
In the Sportsman classes, Peter Biondo from Maspeth, N.Y., took top spot in Super Stock in his '07 Chevy Cobalt, Jeff Chandler from Crawfordsville, Fla., in a '67 Corvette got the better of Sherman Adcock Jr. in his '02 Trans Am to take the Super Gas title, and David Rampy from Piedmont, Ala., used Chevy power in his '32 Bantam to win Comp Eliminator. Also, Byron Latino from Donaldsville, La., won best-engineered vehicle of the event and $1,000 for his Pontiac G5 Super Stock entry.
-credit: gm racing