Joliet: Jeg Coughlin final summary

Inches separate Coughlin from Chicago trophy Just four inches and 15 ten-thousandths of a second separated three-time NHRA series champion Jeg Coughlin from his first victory of the 2005 season. Coughlin led final-round opponent Jason Line at ...

Inches separate Coughlin from Chicago trophy

Just four inches and 15 ten-thousandths of a second separated three-time NHRA series champion Jeg Coughlin from his first victory of the 2005 season. Coughlin led final-round opponent Jason Line at every incremental timer on Route 66's quarter-mile except the one at the finish line as Line managed to squeak by and steal away the win.

The 45-time tour winner had a stellar day of driving, easily beating all four men he faced off the starting line en route to his 18th career runner-up finish. His lightning-quick reaction times were the outright difference in two of the races, against championship contender Kurt Johnson and points leader Greg Anderson, as he dismissed both veteran drivers on holeshots.

Coughlin tried to do the same thing in the final, jumping ahead of Line by a .023-second to .039-second advantage. But the Jeg's Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T didn't have enough steam to hold off Line, who won with a 6.783 at 203.09 mph, just ahead of Coughlin's 6.800 at 202.48 mph.

"It's been a long time since we've made it this far and we're pumped," said Coughlin, who last raced to the trophy round 29 events ago in Gainesville, Fla. "What a great weekend for the entire Jeg's Mail Order team. We almost completed the deal but we can't be down after beating the guys we beat today. We had all the big guns."

Coughlin opened the day with a 6.781 to 6.797-second victory over "Tricky Rickie" Smith that lifted him one spot in the POWERade points to ninth. He then took out two of the toughest cars in the field in Johnson and Anderson with a 6.794 and a 6.787, respectively. The semifinal win propelled him one more spot up in the standings. He's now just four rounds out of the top five in eighth place.

"Every race was tough today," Coughlin said. "But that's the way we like it. I got by Rickie by a hundredth and then just bared down and went for it against Kurt in the quarterfinals because he'd run low E.T. of the first round and I knew I needed a light. That win was huge. Then I got one back from Greg, who's always tough.

"In the final I really thought I had Jason. I knew I was ahead at the Tree and we were in the race all the way down the track. It was so close at the finish line I had to look at the win lights to see who had won.

"We're happy. If you can't win, a runner-up finish is the next best thing. The way this car is running right now I'm really glad we'll be in Englishtown in a few days so I can get back in there and start all over again."

-jegs-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Greg Anderson , Jason Line