“We’ve been fortunate to go to a lot of finals and win a lot of rounds this year but we’ve also had times when we’ve had to outright abort some runs,” Coughlin said. “Our biggest goal for the weekend was to get this JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt to go straight every run and get to the finish line under power. We did that, thanks to the guys in our pit, and this win is really just a result of that effort. It’s very satisfying.”
After beating first-timer Ryan Ondrejko in Round 1, Coughlin faced three of the toughest drivers in the class to earn his 45th career Pro Stock title. His impressive march started with a .014-second quarterfinal win over six-time world champion Warren Johnson. He then slipped by three-time world champion Greg Anderson by just .005 seconds, before squaring off with top qualifier Edwards, who has enjoyed a clear performance advantage over the entire class this season.
Although every run Edwards posted this weekend leading up to the finals was quicker than Coughlin’s final-round run of 6.663 at 207.30 mph, it didn’t matter as Edwards crept through the staging beams and red-lighted, handing Coughlin and his jubilant crew the trophy before either man popped the clutch.
“Mike’s been in a zone of his own for the last several races and he’s such a good racer that you know you need to get up on the wheel to race him,” Coughlin said. “He was clearly quicker than us by at least two-hundredths of a second going into the final so I was really focused on hitting the tree. I went by it and felt like I’d really gotten it and then as I was shifting into second gear I caught the win light flashing in my lane out of my peripheral vision and the party started. If you could have seen inside my helmet you would have seen a grin as big as Texas.”
There won’t be much time to savor this win as Coughlin and the rest of the NHRA tour quickly turn their attention to next weekend’s 40th annual United Association NHRA SuperNationals.
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