Brainerd: GM Racing final notes

Coughlin Reaches Milestone With Pro Stock Win at Brainerd Chevy Driver Only 11th Racer in NHRA History With 50 Career Victories BRAINERD, Minn., August 12, 2007 - Chevy Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin became only the 11th driver in NHRA history to ...

Brainerd: GM Racing final notes

Coughlin Reaches Milestone With Pro Stock Win at Brainerd
Chevy Driver Only 11th Racer in NHRA History With 50 Career Victories

BRAINERD, Minn., August 12, 2007 - Chevy Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin became only the 11th driver in NHRA history to win 50 national events with his win today over Greg Anderson in the Pro Stock finals at the 26th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Ironically, Anderson scored his 50th career Pro Stock win just one race ago at Sonoma. Coughlin now has 37 career NHRA POWERade Pro Stock victories to go along with 13 career sportsman wins in four different classes.

Coughlin, a two-time POWERade Pro Stock champion, drove his Chevy Cobalt past Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac with a final-round elapsed time of 6.667 seconds at 205.94 mph to Anderson's 6.669 e.t. at a track-record speed of 207.24 mph. It was the third win of the year for Coughlin in six final-round appearances and his first time defeating Anderson in a final round in three tries this season.

"This was big," Coughlin said. "To get our 50th win against the competition we run these days is special. Today's a great example of how tough it is; I had Allen Johnson (in Round 1), who's fourth in the points, Jason Line (in Round 2) who's fifth, the big cowboy, six-time champion Warren Johnson (in the semifinals), and then the best driver in the class over the last four years in Greg Anderson.

"Getting to 50 wins was one of my goals when I returned to Pro Stock. It's special to think that only 10 other people have achieved that mark in 50-plus years of drag racing. Fortunately, I've had a great hot rod with [team owner] Victor Cagnazzi and his entire team of technicians and mechanics and they've given me a car capable of winning races."

Minnesota native Anderson has a class-leading seven wins but felt defeat for the first time this season in eight final-round appearances.

"It definitely wasn't a bad day," Anderson said. "Anytime you go to the final round that's got to be considered a good day. But we come to win and didn't, so we still have to get our program better. We've got to work on all three areas - engine, car, and driver - before we get to the Countdown."

The three-time Pro Stock champion and current points leader has not only clinched a spot in the top eight for the Countdown to the Championship, but he also has clinched the top spot and will go into the second segment of the Countdown as No. 1 in Pro Stock.

"That's cool," Anderson said. "That means I go into the Countdown with a lead, no matter the amount. It means that the other guys have to do better than you. They can't do the same because then they lose. It's worth something and we'll just have to make it pay off."

Warren Johnson in the GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO returned to his native Minnesota looking for a strong run to hold on to his spot in Pro Stock's elite eight for the Countdown and today he got it. Johnson advanced to the semifinal round by defeating Kenny Koretsky in Round 1 and son Kurt in the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt in Round 2 before losing to event-champion Coughlin.

"Looking at the video of our semifinal run, it looks as if we were trying to save time and make two runs at the same time," Johnson said. "In all seriousness, for some reason, the car did not want to go straight on that run. Normally, I'm able to overcome that, but I had the wheel turned to the left by half a turn, and it was not coming back, so I had to shut it down. The ironic part is that, even though I was completely out of the groove where there was no bite, I was still able to keep up with him through the first 330 feet.

"The good news is that we're continuing to make forward strides with our GM Performance Parts GTO in the performance department - all that we're missing now is the consistency. That tune-up change we made before the fourth qualifying session is what we've been looking for most of this season, and is something we can use going forward. In addition, we extended our lead over the ninth and tenth place racers going into Reading, which I believe puts us in pretty good shape. Although we certainly would have preferred to win for our family, friends and fans in the stands, given the progress we made, it wasn't a bad weekend."

Another milestone was also reached today when two-time POWERade Pro Stock champ Jim Yates drove his Pontiac to the second round of today's eliminations for his 700th round of Pro Stock competition and now stands 405-295.

In Top Fuel, Team Chevy's Larry Dixon in his Don Prudhomme Racing SkyTel dragster advanced to his fourth final round of the season before losing to Brandon Bernstein. Bernstein had a winning elapsed time of 4.525 seconds at 329.91 mph to Dixon's 4.586 e.t. at 323.35 mph. Dixon, a resident of Avon, Ind., leaves Brainerd solidly qualified for the Countdown in third place with two wins on the season.

Frank Manzo from Morganville, N.J., and Steve Harker from Gainesville, Ga., squared off in an all-Chevy Monte Carlo Top Alcohol Funny Car final with Manzo getting the win with a winning elapsed time of 5.530 seconds at 262.95 mph to Harker's 5.643 e.t. at 257.28 mph.

A quartet of Team Chevy drivers also flexed their muscles at the IHRA drag-racing event at Epping, N.H., with class wins. Points leader Dale Creasy Jr. won Nitro Funny Car in a Chevy Monte Carlo, Mike Janis won Pro Modified in an '07 Chevy Cobalt, Mark Thomas defeated Rob Atchison in an all-Chevy Monte Carlo Alcohol Funny Car final, and Frank Gugliotta won Pro Stock in his '07 Chevy Cobalt.

The next stop on the 23-race NHRA POWERade circuit is the 23rd annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., on Aug. 16-19.

-credit: gm racing

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