After racing past Erica Enders, Vinnie Deceglie, and Shane Gray with a string of strong quarter-mile passes, Coughlin experienced an issue with his motor during the burnout procedure prior to racing Johnson in the final. He still tried to put on a race, and nearly spooked his opponent into a red-light start — Johnson left with a .004-second reaction time — but it was all for naught as Coughlin couldn’t get his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt past half-track before being forced to shutdown. Johnson won with a 6.974 at 198.26 mph to Coughlin’s 7.858 at 135.09 mph.
“Something broke in there, we’re not sure what just yet, but Allen was turning some great laps all weekend so it might have been his day any way,” Coughlin said. “We qualified 1-2 on the ladder so it would have been a great race. I just didn’t have the motor under me that time. Weird things happen on this mountain.”
All things considered, Coughlin was pleased with his team’s performance over the weekend and his fifth final-round showing of the year (three wins and two runner-up results) proves his car will be a contender when the Countdown to the Championship begins on Labor Day weekend.
“We had a heckuva weekend up here,” Coughlin said. “We won last Sunday at sea-level so to turn things around and come up here to the highest track we run on and make it to the finals says a lot about the hard work this team put forth. I’m proud of my guys.
“We have a little rest time and then we’re off to Brainerd for the last regular season race. That track can be extremely good if the conditions are right so we should be able to run quick there. I know the guys will use this down time to get everything back in tip-top shape after this recent grind and we’ll be ready to race.”
After three straight weeks of racing, Coughlin and the rest of the NHRA tour will take a much-needed two-week break before heading to Minnesota on Aug. 12-15 for the 29th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
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