As the professional drag racing tour heads to Heartland Park Topeka for this weekend’s 22nd annual O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals, Coughlin knows the key to contending for the 2010 world title will be the consistency of his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt.
“We know we have a car capable of winning the championship,” Coughlin said. “And we know the work it takes to get it done.
“Our hope has been renewed over the past three or four races, now we just need to carry all this momentum forward and continue it week after week. That’s the trick.”
Currently third in the championship standings with two wins in three final-round showings this year, Coughlin has been the best in the class over the last four races. He’s also no stranger to success in the Heartland as he’s won twice in Topeka, in Pro Stock in 2000 and in Super Stock in 1994. Additionally, Coughlin recorded runner-up finishes at HPT in 1998 (Pro Stock) and 1997 (Competition Eliminator).
“I have always enjoyed our trips to Topeka,” Coughlin said. “I love how the whole town turns out for the drags and the welcome feeling you get there. It’s a special place for us and we’d love to have another big weekend and add another chapter to the book.
“The attention we got over our 50th win was fun but when you add in our sportsman wins, which I can tell you are just as hard to get as the pro ones, we feel as though we passed the 50-win mark a few years ago. Earning 50 Pro Stock wins certainly is a great accomplishment and one this team should be very proud of because we did it together.”
For the second race in a row and the third time this season, Coughlin will compete in both Pro Stock and Stock, racing his JEGS.com Dodge Challenger in the latter.
“I guess we’ll be after our 65th and 66th wins,” Coughlin said with a laugh, pointing to his current career total of 64 national event wins, which includes his Pro Stock and sportsman victories. “I’m very anxious to race my Stock car again. It was on a string in Atlanta. We qualified well and thought we’d have some success in eliminations but we were beaten in Round 1 when my opponent put together a near-perfect package.
“If there had been another race going on I’d have entered it right away because I was absolutely chomping at the bit to get back behind the wheel. Fortunately, we’re running Stock this weekend so I don’t have to wait too long. In fact, we’re running class eliminations on Friday so we’ll have two chances to race. This is my first time running class eliminations in Stock so it’ll be a real challenge.”
Action gets underway in Stock at 8 a.m. EDT Friday. Pro Stock qualifying starts at 5 p.m.
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