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Jeg Coughlin Jr. dominates 60th Winternationals to kick off 50th season of Pro Stock

Jeg Coughlin Jr. started his retirement tour with a dominant victory at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com.
09 Feb 2020
Josie Mandala, NHRA National Dragster Copy Editor
Race coverage
Jeg Coughlin Jr.

Jeg Coughlin Jr. announced his retirement on Saturday and won his 64th Pro Stock Wally on Sunday. The Elite Motorsports driver outran Jason Line, who also announced his retirement ahead of the 50th anniversary of Pro Stock, to win the 83rd Wally of his career. 

Line left first by nearly a hundredth but Coughlin drove past the Summit Chevy Camaro driver, running a 6.522 at 210.80 mph to Line's 6.565 at 209.56. Three-time world champion Line raced in his 103rd Pro Stock final round in search of his 51st Pro Stock win. The two faced off in a final round for the first time since the 2014 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd. 

Coughlin earned pole position for the 33rd time in his career and collected all 12 bonus points by making the quickest pass in each of the four qualifying sessions. The driver of the JEGS.com Chevy Camaro runnered-up in each of the last two seasons and is looking for his seventh world championship in his final season behind the wheel of a Pro Stock car. 


“It was quite a day. It started on Friday honestly, we’ll just call it quite a weekend,” said Coughlin. “Rickie Jones and Richard Freeman, the whole Elite team did a fantastic job over the winter. Today’s race was outstanding. I can’t recall a time in my 20 plus year career in Pro Stock that I was low for each and every one of the sessions and won the race. That’s quite a testament to the team. Hopefully it’s something we can hold on to for a little bit. It looks like we have a bit of a performance advantage here at Pomona and we were able to capitalize on it.”

Defending NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock champion Erica Enders battled the flu the whole weekend, but she fought it off long enough to reach the 33rd semifinal of her career. Enders bested Cristian Cuadra and Matt Hartford in an impressive effort by the three-time world champion. 

Kenny Delco, in his KD Racing Camaro, qualified No. 4 for a terrific start to his 2020 campaign and was looking to earn his first win since the 1990 Gatornationals and second of his career. He took the first-round win over teammate Val Smeland with a reaction time of .007 and outran Steve Graham to earn a place in his first semi’s since the 2019 Gatornationals.

Matt Hartford, in his first season with KB Racing, got past former Elite Motorsports teammate Aaron Stanfield after qualifying 11th. The driver of the Total Seal Chevy Camaro broke in the second round against defending champion Enders, who booked a spot in her 36th semifinal. 

Chris McGaha left .004 behind Greg Anderson in a heavyweight first-round matchup, but Anderson’s Summit Chevy Camaro got loose just before half track. The Texan took advantage, running a 6.590 at 209.52 in his Harlow Sammons Chevy Camaro. 

Part-time racer Steve Graham earned his first round-win since the 2019 Winternationals, continuing a stretch of good fortune in Pomona, by defeating 2017 Pro Stock world champion Bo Butner in the first round. Graham cut a .004 light on the Tree but didn’t need it after Butner ran a 7.439 to Graham’s 6.619. 

Fernando Cuadra Jr. cut a .002 light against Deric Kramer to earn his first round-win and second of his career, getting past the American Ethanol Chevy Camaro. It was Cuadra’s first victory since the 2019 NHRA Virginia Nationals.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues at the NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix from Feb. 21-23. You can purchase tickets here.