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Coughlin is inch away from Pro Stock repeat

Jeg Coughlin wore the smile of a champion after winning the Pro Stock title in the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

But his smile will be even wider in two weeks when he shows up at Pomona, Calif., for the NHRA season finale.

Coughlin’s fourth Las Vegas title nearly clinched his second consecutive and fourth overall championship in the NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series. He only needs to make a qualifying run in Pomona.

“It took a ton of pressure off our shoulders,” Coughlin said, adding he has more trepidation about flying with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Tuesday than about his next race.

Coughlin’s Victor Cagnazzi-owned Chevrolet Cobalt, tuned by Roy Simmons and father Jeg Coughlin Sr., ran flawlessly. Coughlin’s four runs ranged from 6.70 to 6.71 seconds, and he defeated Greg Stanfield in the final.

Greg Anderson, a three-time Pro Stock champion, was the only driver with a realistic chance of catching Coughlin after Kurt Johnson was eliminated in the first round. But Anderson’s car broke to the right off the starting line in a semifinal loss.

A day after clinching the Top Fuel season championship, Tony Schumacher won the final over Las Vegas resident Rod Fuller, who was trying to win the LVMS title for the second straight year.

Schumacher’s victory added to a stellar season in which he has won 15 of 23 event titles, including 10 of the last 11.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Chris Rivas beat Eddie Krawiec in the final to win his third event of the season and create a three-man championship derby heading to Pomona. Matt Smith leads, with Eddie Krawiec 19 points back and Rivas trailing by 39.

• PRO MODIFIEDS — Josh Hernandez clinched his second Jegs ProMod Challenge on Saturday and added the event title Sunday.

• SPORTSMAN — Winners in the NHRA Sportsman categories were: Dan Fletcher of Churchville, N.Y., (Competition Eliminator); Anthony Bertozzi, Ashland, Va., (Super Stock); Tommy Phillips, Forney, Texas, (Super Comp); and Brad Pierce, Riverside, Calif., (Super Gas).

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