Coughlin finished the rain-abbreviated qualifying sessions of the 28th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in 11th place overall. It’s the first time all season the current point leader didn’t secure a top-half spot but the 59-time national event winner seemed mostly unfazed.
“Bob Frey, the great announcer for NHRA, told me last week that we’re the only race team in history to have won a race from every qualifying spot so I guess it really is true that you can win from anywhere as long as you make the cut,” Coughlin said. “Certainly, we were hoping for a little more in qualifying but the last run we made was very encouraging and I’m confident we’ll be able to respond well tomorrow.”
Coughlin’s best run was a 6.752 at 204.85 mph, which places him opposite part-timer Vinnie Deceglie, who went 6.729 at 204.05 mph in his Dodge Stratus.
“There are no easy races and Vinnie obviously has a handle on his car so we’ll need to be ready for a fight right out of the gate,” Coughlin said. “It’s times like this when you’re glad you have a team full of guys that know how to take care of business.
“We’re focused on hitting the Countdown to 1 at full stride. We have three races left, including this weekend, to get up to speed so every pass will be important. The car started coming around today so I think we’ll be in good shape. If we hadn’t gotten rained out we would have run a 6.70 tonight and we’d be right there with the big guns.”
Eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
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