“The car’s performing very well,” Coughlin said. “Dad (Jeg Coughlin Sr.), Roy (Simmons, crew chief), and the team kind of took a step back after Charlotte and decided to take a slightly different approach for this race. We got aggressive and the car has responded.
“We always strive to be one of the top four cars in each session, regardless of the conditions. Obviously, it got hotter today and no one improved, but I’m darn proud of the fact we were third, fourth, second, and second quickest in the four qualifying sessions we ran here. That’s the consistency we showed all year and it’s good to have it back.”
Coughlin won an NHRA-leading seven national events in the regular season and led the Pro Stock points after 14 races, also the best mark in the pro ranks. His only stumble came last weekend in Charlotte where he recorded his only first-round loss of the year. Unfortunately, because the points were reset for the championship contenders prior to the Charlotte event, he gave up the No. 1 ranking for the first time since early April.
“Charlotte was Charlotte,” Coughlin said. “It was just a bad race at an inopportune time. Every team is going to have those races. It’s part of the sport.
“It’s still too early to get caught up in the points deal. There are six playoff races and so far we’ve only run one of them so we have a ways to go. I know if we go out and perform the way we’re capable of performing then the round wins will come. If we win enough rounds we’ll win our share of races and the championship will take care of itself.”
Coughlin will open eliminations against Steve Spiess, who qualified 14th with a best of 6.696 at 206.13 mph. The two men have raced three times this year with Coughlin holding a perfect 3-0 mark against Spiess.
“We had a top-four car every round and it’s still not completely happy,” said Coughlin, a 61-time national event winner with five championships to his credit. “There’s room to improve. We need a nice rebound race after Charlotte. So far things are going our way. We need to work hard to keep it that way.”
Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. with Pro Stock scheduled to start at noon.