RICHMOND, Va. (Oct. 10) — Lengthy delays, cooling rain showers, and diving barometer readings turned Virginia Motorsports Park into a mineshaft Saturday during the second day of professional qualifying for the fourth annual Virginia NHRA Nationals. Near-record runs became the norm and 6.5-second passes were commonplace.

“If you could get your car off the starting line and through those first 60 feet, they gave you a 6.50 time slip at the top end,” Coughlin said. “Everything a Pro Stock car needs to go fast came together right there as far as the weather conditions were concerned and that’s why you saw so many guys setting career-best numbers out there.”

Unfortunately, Coughlin’s Chevrolet Cobalt was just a little heavy on the launch pad and by the time the five-time champion got up to speed he’d lost just enough momentum to post a 6.5-second pass, settling instead for a 6.601 at 210.01, which placed him 12th on the elimination grid.

“We were just a little sluggish down low and that cost us,” Coughlin said. “It ran very well from 60 feet to the finish line but we gave up a touch too much early to make our best pass. Nevertheless, we’re in the show and excited to race tomorrow.

“Last night we got together with the team and decided to make some major changes with the car. We were 11th quickest and then seventh quickest in yesterday’s two rounds and we just decided the car needed to be re-done if we were seriously going to challenge for this year’s championship.

“We came out today and jumped all the way up to fourth place. We were just pleased as can be at that point and thought that if we just cleaned it up a little we could be right there within a hundredth or two of the top guy. Then with all the delays and the way it cooled off it just got so good out there we couldn’t keep up with it and we let that final round get away just a touch.”

Coughlin will face Greg Stanfield in Sunday’s opening round of eliminations. Stanfield was one of the drivers who hit a homerun in Round 4. His best pass of 6.559 at 209.95 mph will give him lane choice over Coughlin. The two men have faced each other four times this year with Coughlin holding a perfect 4-0 mark against Stanfield.

“Greg’s always tough but I think we’ll have something for him,” Coughlin said.

Weather permitting; eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. EST.

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