Jeg Coughlin Jr., Chevy Cavalier claim exciting U.S. Nationals victory. INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 2, 2002 - Jeg Coughlin Jr. captured his second U.S. Nationals Pro Stock victory today by driving his Chevy Cavalier past final-round opponent Jim Yates....
Jeg Coughlin Jr., Chevy Cavalier claim exciting U.S. Nationals victory.
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 2, 2002 - Jeg Coughlin Jr. captured his second U.S. Nationals Pro Stock victory today by driving his Chevy Cavalier past final-round opponent Jim Yates. It was Coughlin's second consecutive national-event victory and his fourth win in the last six races. It was also Chevrolet's 105th NHRA Pro Stock victory!
Coughlin entered today's Pro Stock eliminator qualified in the No. 9 position, the second consecutive race he's won qualified in the bottom half of the field (he was 15th at Brainerd). Consistent reaction and elapsed times advanced the former NHRA champion past Greg Stanfield in round one, Ron Krisher in round two and Allen Johnson in round three.
In the finals against Yates, Coughlin's Cavalier launched first with a .439 reaction time and crossed the finish line in 6.953 seconds. Yates' Pontiac SC/T Grand Am followed in 6.934 seconds. Coughlin's holeshot advantage at the starting line gave Chevrolet the victory by .019 second.
"You know we're getting some good breaks but we're making those breaks happen for ourselves," said Coughlin. "To be in the points lead right now feels great even if it is only by one point. We've had a tough year after being down 13 or 14 rounds and losing races by slim margins. But we kept our heads up, our spirits high and kept our work effort in the direction it was heading. It's obvious that it's beginning to pay off."
This weekend's result propelled Coughlin into first place in the NHRA Pro Stock standings for the first time this season giving the 32-year-old Columbus, Ohio native a one point lead over second-place Greg Anderson, and a nine point lead over third-place Yates.
"Eight races ago at Chicago we posted a DNQ (did not qualify) and fell to 17th place," said Coughlin. "To be on a roll like this, at this point in the season, with the way this class has been so close is just awesome. We're real proud of the effort we've made and we're looking forward to the next six races. We've got a great Chevy Cavalier race car that gives us a terrific aerodynamic package and now we're starting to capitalize on that Chevrolet horsepower. We're extremely proud to be the first Chevy team, and the first team period to win four races this year."
Today's victory was the 27th -career Pro Stock win for Jeg Coughlin Jr. and the 38th time that he has raced in a final round. It is also the sixth time this season that the Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet driver has advanced to a final round. He is now tied with Darrell Alderman for third place on the NHRA list for all-time victories by a Pro Stock driver.
"When you look at this team, you're looking at a championship caliber program every weekend and I say that with confidence," said Coughlin. "My father (Jeg Sr.) has done a tremendous job putting the right people in place and we've got excellent parts to work with. There was no question in my mind that with my dad behind this program that we were going to strike soon. To be honest with you, we've learned how to race this year."