His confidence, everyone soon found out, was real as the JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt nearly pulled off an impressive upset for the second week in a row with Coughlin getting a great start but eventually losing by the narrowest of margins — .001 seconds.
“I was extremely confident going into the day,” Coughlin said. “We got the car qualified on the last run Saturday, which was short of a miracle, really, with the conditions we were dealing with, but today was a fresh start and we almost pulled one off.”
Coughlin had a reaction time of .012 seconds to Johnson’s .036. The JEGS.com Chevy crossed the stripe at 6.603 at 208.20 mph. Johnson had a little more under the hood and was able to overcome his deficit at the starting line with a 6.578 second run at 209.49 mph.
“Everything on our data showed we could run to the front of the pack,” Coughlin said. “We felt like we had a car that could run in the high 6.50s first round. We just missed that mark. We just didn’t get there by one thousandth of a second.
“Are we disappointed? Yeah, of course. We wanted to keep our title hopes in closer range going into the last three races, but we’re going to keep swinging until they tell us to stop.”
Coughlin said the plan for the final three races of the season is to be ready from the get-go, instead of having to come from behind like he has the last two races.
“It’s not where we want to start races,” Coughlin said. “We’re going to be prepared for Q1 before we get to Reading. We’ve clearly not been prepared the last two weeks, from a team standpoint. That’s what has been costing us these races.”
Coughlin is now in sixth place but less than one round win of fourth in the standings.
Next for Coughlin and the JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt is the 26th annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals, Oct. 8-10 from Maple Grove Raceway.
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