Sunday at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in New Jersey, Coughlin collected his NHRA-leading fifth trophy of the season and 46th of his illustrious career to push his point lead in the Full Throttle rankings to triple digits with 11 races gone in the season.
“It’s really incredible,” Coughlin said. “We’re just finding ways to get it done.”
Just as it was a week ago in Chicago, Coughlin had to figure out a way to beat Mike Edwards and his slightly quicker racecar to get the win. Seven days ago, Edwards crept through the staging beams and was disqualified for leaving the starting line too soon. This time, Edwards was just late enough for Coughlin to take the victory on a holeshot in his gleaming yellow and black JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt.
After Coughlin left with a .025 to .038-second reaction time advantage, Edwards began a valiant chase but the wily Coughlin was able to hold off his charge to win with a 6.598 at 209.49 mph to Edwards’ quicker but losing 6.587 at 209.82 mph.
“I knew we probably needed a hundredth or two to even things up a bit and give ourselves a chance against Mike,” Coughlin said. “I got a little edge and then just did everything I could to make a perfect run. We had just enough to hold him off.
“They told me I won by less than a foot so it was very close down there. Talk about exciting! I could sense that he was out there next to me and we all know what Mike’s car is capable of running so I didn’t dare peek over. I just wanted that win light to come on and it finally did.”
Earlier in the day, Coughlin beat Jason Line, Ron Krisher, and Allen Johnson, all of whom struggled to keep their racecars straight at the launch. As usual, Coughlin jumped on his opponent’s miscues and turned on the win light each round.
“Every round is such a battle,” said Coughlin, who has now won three times this year when starting from the No. 8 qualifying position. “You know Jason has a great horse. Ron was the No. 1 qualifier so they’re running good over there. Allen has been right in the thick of it all year, and Mike has the best racecar at the moment. Nothing comes easy, that’s for sure.
“This was a nice one to win for our team owner Victor Cagnazzi because he’s a New York guy and had a bunch of his friends and family out this weekend. It was nice to give them something to get excited about. I know we’re plenty excited in this JEGS pit.”
The NHRA tour takes a weekend off before returning to action June 25-28 with the third annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.
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