“We committed to running NHRA Pro Mod this year,” Coughlin said. “And the way the NMCA schedule set up it looked like we were going to miss the first two races because of conflicting dates, so we decided to just run NHRA. There were only eight races on the original NMCA schedule so to miss two of them would have put us pretty far behind.
“When we race we go for the championship. It didn’t seem like that was going to happen until Bowling Green rained out. Suddenly, we realized there was an opening.”
Once the race was officially cancelled, Coughlin consulted with crewmembers Clint Allerton, Mike Rees, and Bryan Metzenheim to gauge their interest in dusting off last year’s championship-winning JEGS.com Pontiac GXP and defending their title.
“They all said they wanted to do it,” Coughlin said. “So we’ve taken on the challenge and we’re heading to Maple Grove Raceway for this weekend’s race.
“The car was put away just like we had it at the end of the year. It’s the same set-up we used to set the world record twice and win a couple of races down the stretch so there wasn’t much we needed to do to get ready. We did go out and make some eighth-mile passes and it responded well so we’ll be ready to race.”
As the defending series champ, Coughlin knows he’ll have a target on his back when he arrives in eastern Pennsylvania for this weekend’s eighth annual Kooks Custom Headers NMCA Muscle Car Nationals. He’s also taken notice of the fact that numerous racers are now running in the 6.2-second range.
“It’s not going to be easy,” he said. “We’ll have to dig deep and beat on this GXP to have a chance, but we’re capable. We did miss one race already and that pretty much eliminated all the room we had to make any errors. We’ll have to be pretty close to perfect for the final six races if we hope to be competitive.
“We’re all pretty excited. I’m glad it worked out for us. Now we need to go race.”
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