Joliet: GM Racing final summary

Jeg Coughlin's Chevy Cobalt Rolls to Route 66 Raceway Pro Stock Victory Team Chevy's Larry Dixon Wins Top Fuel in SkyTel Dragster CHICAGO, June 10, 2007 - Jeg Coughlin Jr. put the Chevy Cobalt in the Pro Stock winner's circle for the ...

Jeg Coughlin's Chevy Cobalt Rolls to Route 66 Raceway Pro Stock Victory
Team Chevy's Larry Dixon Wins Top Fuel in SkyTel Dragster

CHICAGO, June 10, 2007 - Jeg Coughlin Jr. put the Chevy Cobalt in the Pro Stock winner's circle for the first time this season at today's Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. Coughlin defeated Pontiac GTO driver Jason Line in the all-GM final to collect his third career win at this venue and his first national-event victory since the 2005 NHRA Finals at Pomona (Calif.). It was also Chevrolet's 137th all-time win in NHRA Pro Stock competition.

"To be crowned champion today is what we work for and what we look forward to," said Coughlin. "My teammate Dave Connolly got a win a few weeks ago and that's a testament to our team and our whole program.

"We're coming on strong. We're nipping at the performance advantage the KB team has had the last several years, and we want to flash them a little yellow and black and see if we can't challenge them for the 2007 POWERade championship. It's going to be exciting, but it's going to be gut wrenching too."

Coughlin entered raceday with the Chevy Cobalt qualified in the No. 3 position. Coughlin defeated Mike Edwards in round one with a 6.663 e.t. at 207.30 mph, Kurt Johnson in round two with a 6.665 e.t. at 207.21 mph, and Larry Morgan in round three with a 6.679 e.t. at 206.70 mph. In the finals against Line, Coughlin's Chevy Cobalt launched hard with a nearly perfect .002 reaction and never relinquished the lead, crossing the finish line with 6.658 e.t. at 207.37 mph. Line's Pontiac followed with a quicker 6.656 second run at 208.07 mph. Coughlin's margin of victory was .021 of a second, or approximately four feet.

"We have an unbelievable support team," said Coughlin. "We have a chassis program so that we can build our Pro Stock Chevy Cobalts in house, and we have an engine program that's second to none with Joe Hornick and Nick Ferry and Steve Johns. Between the three of them they've won several national events and several national titles. The ingredients are in place and the rest of the team that goes on site for these races does an outstanding job. Team-owner Victor Cagnazzi is very hands on and great to work with. We're trying to leave no stone unturned and being in the winner's circle is always the ultimate goal."

For Coughlin, it was his 35th career win as an NHRA Pro Stock driver and his 55th final-round appearance. It was also the Columbus, Ohio native's third final-round appearance in 2007 and it moved him to second place in the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock standings.

"Our Chevy Cobalt was on a rail all weekend," said Coughlin. "We never ran worse than third in the pack in all four qualifying sessions, and today even, we weren't any worse than second in all four rounds. As we move toward evening the sun makes it difficult to see the tree in the left lane, but Mother Nature gave us a nice cloud cover and enabled us to hit the tree as hard as we did in the final."

Line entered raceday with his Summit Racing Pontiac qualified in the No. 9 spot. Line defeated Max Naylor in round one with a 6.853 second run at 200.20 mph, Tom Hammonds in the quarterfinals with a 6.661 e.t. at 207.46 mph and V. Gaines in round three with a 6.661 e.t. at 207.05 mph.

"I don't know why but I always seem to do well here," said Line. "This was fun today. With the exception of round one, the Summit Racing Pontiac performed great all afternoon and only got better as the temperature went up."

It was the third final-round appearance for Line this season and the fourth time in his career that he's advanced to the title heat at this venue (Line has won here three times).

"This is a great way to get ready for the next race, and who knows, maybe I can keep my Englishtown winning streak going," said Line who has won three years in a row at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

In Top Fuel, Team Chevy's Larry Dixon drove the Skytel Dragster to his first victory of the season and his first win since the 2005 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis. Dixon qualified in the No. 8 position and defeated Cory McClenathan in round one (4.600ET/319.75MPH), Tony Schumacher in round two (4.572ET/322.96MPH) and Doug Herbert in the semifinals (4.582ET/321.65MPH) to advance to the finals against Rod Fuller. In the championship heat, Dixon's SkyTel dragster took the win light with 4.579 second run at 322.11 mph to Fuller's 9.155 e.t. at 80.76 mph.

"It's really cool to have a job where you can have your family with you and celebrate like that when you win," said Dixon. "I just wish it wouldn't have taken us a year-and-a-half to get Donnie Bender (crew chief) his first win. I'm sure glad that Snake (Don Prudhomme) stuck with him and gave him his chance to get everything right. He and Todd Smith work great together. You give Donnie time and he'll be another Dick Lahaie. He just doesn't have 40 years under his belt. He has a year-and-half being a tuner and I think he's doing a great job.

"The cloud cover today certainly helped. I think everybody kind of tipped over yesterday. There wasn't a lot of performance. I remember when we first came here, when it was really hot, and the sun's out, nobody could get down the track. If it cools down, this could be a track where you could see someone run a 4.30. You have to have the weather cooperate, and today you saw a lot more 4.50s. I don't think the track was a factor at all in the tuning."

It was Dixon's 39th career victory, his second career win at Route 66 Raceway and the fifth time he's advanced to a final round at this venue. Dixon's win advanced the Avon, Ind., resident to fourth place in the POWERade points standings, just 90 points behind first-place Rod Fuller.

"All I think about, with the point format the way it is now, is being seeded in the top eight," said Dixon. "You have to have a second round average all the way up to Indy. There are some places where you'll go out in first round and you're not getting to the second round. You need to got to at least the semifinals and if you can sneak a win in there, great. This certainly helped the cause."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Kurt Johnson , Larry Morgan , Cory McClenathan , Don Prudhomme , Tom Hammonds , Jason Line , Rod Fuller , Max Naylor , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards , Steve J , Todd Smith