INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 22) – After driving to a runner-up finish in his Competition Eliminator debut at the North Central Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in Norwalk, Ohio, John Coughlin reached another final round less than a week later when he wheeled his dragster to a runner-up at the rain delayed Lucas Oil event at O’Reilly Raceway Park. Coughlin, the reigning Division 3 Top Dragster champion, qualified in the No. 7 spot with a 6.63 at 207.46-mph and defeated Mike Trauth, Nick Hamilton,  Al Peavler, and Robert Cireddu to earn a spot in the final round alongside No. 24 qualifier Edward Dudley. Coughlin, who had been quick an consistent on the starting line, left with a competitive .019-second reaction time and recorded a 6.65 on his 6.64 dial in, but it wasn’t enough as Dudley put together a nearly perfect run with a 6.87 on his 6.87 dial.
“Getting to two finals in two weeks is a good way to start the season but I’m a little bummed because I needed to win the final to qualify for the JEGS Allstars race next month,” said John. When we ran the final, it was starting to get dark and I knew that my reaction time would probably improve. I had a good light but his was a little better. He ran a great race and there really wasn’t much I could have done to beat him. I would like to have made [the JEGS Allstars team] especially since this is the first year for Top Dragster but sometimes that’s just the way it goes. I gave it my best shot and just came up a bit short.”
Coughlin also raced his Chevy Cobalt in Competition Eliminator and won his second round race against Mike Farrell, but was disqualified after the car came up light at the scales. Coughlin’s opponent was re-instated and went on to win the race.
“That was just an unfortunate mistake on our part,” said John. “The car was light but rules are rules so we’re out. That’s also a bummer because I was on a pretty good roll. I think I had a good chance to make it to the final in both Comp and Top Dragster. Obviously, we’ll get back to work and make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
John’s nephew, Troy Jr., reached the fourth round of eliminations in the Super Comp class but also lost an exceptionally close race. Paired with Steve Mikus of Ashley, Mich., Troy Jr. left the line with a great .010 reaction time in his dragster and ran an 8.913 on the 8.90-second index but it was not enough for the win as Mikus ran an 8.906, winning the race by just a thousandth of a second.
“I was leading that race but gave the finish line back by a thousandths of a second,” said T.J. “That’s how it goes in Super Comp racing. It seems like most races are won or lost by about a thousandth or a second or so. Overall, we had a good weekend. I went some rounds and got some more seat time. Next week, we’re going to Bristol [Dragway] to run for 150 Grand so Kenny [Underwood, crew chief] and I are ready.”


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