Bristol: Jeg Coughlin Jr preview

Numbers don't lie: Coughlin the best in Pro Stock over last eight races BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 5) -- The best Pro Stock driver over the last eight races hasn't been POWERade points leader Greg Anderson. Instead, the steadiest hand in the Pro Stock...

Numbers don't lie: Coughlin the best in Pro Stock over last eight races

BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 5) -- The best Pro Stock driver over the last eight races hasn't been POWERade points leader Greg Anderson. Instead, the steadiest hand in the Pro Stock stable has been none other than three-time series champion Jeg Coughlin Jr., who has accumulated a class-leading 686 points since the Houston race in late March, compared to Anderson's 681 points earned over that same time frame.

"That's an impressive statistic," the 37-year-old Coughlin admitted. "It's a great trend and obviously it's one we'd love to continue moving forward, particularly once the Countdown to the Championship playoff deal begins in September in Indy.

"Our JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt has been very, very consistent, and even though I have earned a few more points than Greg over the last eight races, I feel as though we could have earned even more. I think we left a few rounds and wins on the table, to be perfectly honest. But we're still incredibly happy with our position in the class."

In the last eight races, Coughlin has raced to the semifinals or further seven times. His one early exit, a quarterfinal result in Atlanta, remains his first and only holeshot loss as a professional.

"The confidence I have in my racecar goes up and up every week," Coughlin said. "Any time you're completing runs and making good, strong passes every time out, you just feel invincible behind the wheel. It picks you up. It picks us all up. Rich (Saulino) feels better tuning the engine, Roy (Simmons) feels better making the clutch calls, everyone just does a better job. Success breeds success."

Coughlin will make the trip from his Delaware, Ohio, home to Bristol, Tenn., this weekend for the seventh annual O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. Coughlin hasn't recorded a national event win at Bristol Dragway, which was redesigned in the late-1990s after being purchased by Bruton Smith, but he has visited Bristol's winner's circle after winning the lucrative $50,000 Winston All-Star Showdown in 1999.

"That might not count as a national event but any time you beat the best of the best in this sport it is special," Coughlin said, "especially when they give you $50,000 at the end of the day. I love the facility and the heritage of that racetrack. They've been working so hard on getting the track ready for us I expect it will be perfect."

Entering this event, Coughlin trails Anderson by 167 points in the POWERade standings. Under the new Countdown to the Championship format, the top eight racers in each professional category will battle for this year's world titles beginning in Indianapolis. The field will be reduced to four racers after the Richmond, Va., event.

-credit: team jegs

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Greg Anderson