Memphis: Jeg Coughlin Jr preview

New points leader Coughlin peaking at the perfect time MEMPHIS (Sept. 22) -- The NHRA's Countdown to 1 playoffs are all about timing and the way things are going for reigning series champion Jeg Coughlin Jr., the timing is perfect for his...

New points leader Coughlin peaking at the perfect time

MEMPHIS (Sept. 22) -- The NHRA's Countdown to 1 playoffs are all about timing and the way things are going for reigning series champion Jeg Coughlin Jr., the timing is perfect for his JEGS.com race team.

Coming off a runner-up finish Sunday in Dallas that vaulted him back into the points lead for the first time since April, Coughlin is on an incredible streak at the moment. It's the kind of run that wins championships, and no one would know that better than Coughlin himself, who has four world titles and 53 national event wins to his credit.

"Credit Victor Cagnazzi and the incredible team he's put together," Coughlin said of his team owner. "We had the start of the playoffs circled since the schedule came out. We knew it would be very important to enter the Countdown with as much momentum as possible and then find a way to maintain that for six races. So far, so good."

In the two races since the playoffs began, Coughlin has a semifinal and a runner-up finish to his credit. That consistency has put him 14 points ahead of Kurt Johnson, 46 up on Greg Anderson, 95 in front of Jason Line, and 110 ahead of teammate Dave Connolly.

In the three races leading into the Countdown, Coughlin raced to a win, a runner-up and a semifinal finish, giving him exactly the momentum he needed for a fast start.

"All 10 drivers in the Countdown field are very capable of turning it on and making a run," Coughlin said. "All you can do is limit your mistakes and get up on the wheel every time you're in the car.

"One of the things we always work on is being one of the top three or four cars in every session, regardless of the conditions. By doing that I think we've ended up with a really fast and super consistent racecar. My dad (Jeg Sr.) and Roy (Simmons, crew chief) are working really well together on that concept and I feel like I'm driving pretty well, so it's all coming together for us."

If history is any indicator, this weekend's 21st annual Mid-South Nationals should be another great race for Coughlin. He's won this event twice in four final-round appearances and has reached the semifinal round in eight of his nine trips to Memphis Motorsports Park.

"This track has always been good to us," the 38-year-old Coughlin said. "I certainly hope that continues this time through."

-credit: team jegs

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Greg Anderson , Jason Line , Dave Connolly