WEST POINT, Ky. (October 3) – Following a heroic comeback season that included two victories in the NHRA North Central Division Top Sportsman series, Mike Coughlin entered the final rounds of Sunday’s annual Doorslammer Nationals with a chance to clinch his third championship in the last five seasons.
Coughlin needed only to win the second round of eliminations to clinch the title but fate intervened as he suffered a broken transmission in the deciding round, allowing rival John Scali to win the title for the second-consecutive year.
“This hurts but it’s one of those things that you learn to live with,” Coughlin said. “I suppose it would have hurt a lot more if this had been my first championship, but I’ve been there before and I know what it takes to win. In the end, we just came up a little short. It was something that was totally out of our control. No matter what, I’ve had a great year so I’m not too disappointed.”
Coughlin was sidelined for most of the 2010 season following hip and knee surgery, but quickly regained his championship form this season, driving his JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt to back-to-back wins in Indianapolis and Chicago.
After qualifying in the top half of the field at the eighth-mile Ohio Valley event, Coughlin easily won his round one race. In the second and deciding round, he gained a big starting line advantage against his opponent and appeared to be well on his way to a victory when disaster struck.
“I had a .008 reaction time so I was pretty sure I was going to win the round,” Coughlin said. “Then, about 100-feet out, the transmission broke. It was all over that fast. Normally, my car is very consistent, and it rarely ever breaks parts but this was just one of those things that happen sometimes. We didn’t make any mistakes. We just had some bad luck. That’s all.
“Honestly, I had a good chance to win the championship last week in Columbus [at the JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals] but we struggled at that race. I’m more disappointed that we didn’t do better at that race. Considering I didn’t race much last year, I can take a lot of positives from this season. We’re now just going to regroup and come back and hit it hard again next year. We’ll definitely be back.”
The JEGS Mail Order team was gunning for two championships Sunday and got one of them as Mike’s niece, Makenna Brown, officially clinched the Jr. Dragster 2 track championship at National Trail Raceway behind the wheel of her JEGS.com dragster.
“We didn’t win the championship but Makenna sure got it done in her Jr. Dragster and we’re all proud of her,” Coughlin said. “Congratulations to Makenna. She did an awesome job.”
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