Denver Coughlin vs. Coughlin

MORRISON, Colo. - Jeg Coughlin Jr., won his second national event this season by edging out his brother Troy in the Pro Stock final during the 21st annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway on Sunday. Coughlin,...

MORRISON, Colo. - Jeg Coughlin Jr., won his second national event this season by edging out his brother Troy in the Pro Stock final during the 21st annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway on Sunday. Coughlin, from Columbus, Ohio, defended his '98 victory at Bandimere by covering the quarter-mile in 7.267 seconds at a speed of 188.67 mph in his Jeg's Mail Order Oldsmobile Cutlass, a new elapsed-time track record. His brother and opponent Troy Coughlin also driving a similar Jeg's Mail Order Oldsmobile Cutlass ran 7.345 seconds at 187.73 mph in the second Pro Stock final round for both brothers this season. "This is the best season we've ever had," Coughlin said. "Our whole program has grown just leaps and bounds this season, it's a win-win situation for both of us." Joe Amato, Tony Pedregon, and Dave Schultz also were winners of their respective categories. The $1.6 million race was the 12th of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Coughlin used a combination of his driving skills, some of which he learned from sibling Troy, along with crew chief Richard Maskin's consistent tuning to defeat Mike Edwards, Steve Schmidt, and Kurt Johnson to advance to the final round. "We struggled a little bit in the first half of the year," Coughlin said. "Our crew chief Richard Maskin has been doing a heck of a job to come up with a handful of combinations to get us set up for ths race. We feel like we've got both cars as close as they've ever been set up wise. This win proves that were still on the right track. Hopefully we can go to Seattle and see both cars in the top four again." Although points leader Warren Johnson was eliminated by Troy Coughlin in the semi-finals after Troy cut a perfect reaction time of .400 seconds, Johnson still leads third place Jeg Jr., by 289 points and second place Kurt Johnson by 181 points. Amato, from Exeter, Pa., captured his third Top Fuel victory of the year in his Tenneco dragster by pedaling to a 5.710-second pass at 253.85 mph and upsetting Doug Kalitta in a thrilling tire-smoking Top Fuel final round. " I must have pedaled it about four times," Amato said. "It was tough because I could hear Doug coming but I just kept on pedaling until I saw the finish line." The effort was enough to get past Doug Kalitta's pass of 6.024 seconds at 233.92 mph in his Kittyhawk dragster after he also lost traction several times during the run. "It wasn't pretty but we'll take it," Amato said. "You try and just get there as fast as you can and hope it was good enough, in this case it was not real fast but it was real good." The win was Amato's fifth victory at Bandimere Speedway and moved him into a tie for the sixth position in points along with defending NHRA Winston Top Fuel Champion Gary Scelzi at 722 points, both are only four points out of fourth place. Current Top Fuel points leader Mike Dunn barely extended his lead to 814 points after being eliminated in the fist round by Jim Head. Dunn leads the second place position held by Kenny Bernstein by only 44 points. Pedregon of Gardena, Calif., also posted his third victory of the year in Funny Car to continue his reign at Bandimere Speedway. " Right now we've got a good solid team and this is a great way for us to start off the second part of the season," Pedregon said. "It feels really good, to come out and win this event back-to-back, especially when you don't qualify that hot." The '98 Mile-High Nationals champion ran 5.209 seconds at 279.96 mph in his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to hold off '97 winner Whit Bazemore's Kendall Chevrolet Camaro which lost traction just past the starting line going 13.182 seconds at 70.68 mph. Eventhough both Pedregon and Bazemore are second and third in the points the win still keeps Pedregon ahead of Bazemore by 236 points and 251 points from Pedregons team owner and points leader eight-time NHRA Winston Funny Car Champion John Force. Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Schultz, of Fort Myers, Fla., visited the winner's circle for the first time since the '97 Mac Tools Gatornationals on his Sunocco Suzuki. " I feel more confident now that I finally have a win under my belt," Schultz said. " I tried not to stub my toe like I've done several other times in the final. I've been doing well but when it comes to the final I try to take too big a chunk and make too many changes, I found myself trying to make the bike do something that it's not ready to do yet". The victory was also number 43 for the six-time NHRA Winston Pro Stock Motorcycle Champion. "I'm not dead yet," Schultz said, "I'm old but I'm not dead. After Chicago, I began a new engine program with Byron Hines and now that I feel I have some power, I also have more confidence and it's actually made me a lot better". Schultz's run of 7.655 seconds at 175.07 mph was more than enough to beat Team 23 Suzuki rider Antron Brown who fouled out. Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Angelle Seeling who fouled out in the first round still maintains a 97 point lead over Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals runner-up Antron Brown. The estimated four-day attendance was 105,000 The next NHRA event is the 12th annual Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals, presented by Al's Auto Supply, July 30-Aug. 1 at Seattle International Raceway in Kent, Washington.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Antron Brown , Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Steve Schmidt , Mike Edwards