DENVER (July 22) — Five-time Pro Stock world champion has traversed Bandimere Speedway numerous times in his two decades behind the wheel of his JEGS-branded racecars so he knows the famous mile-high strip well. However, after only qualifying 11th at this weekend's 38th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Coughlin says he's yet to find the quickest way down the quarter mile this time through.
"Here we are at the conclusion of Day 2 in Denver and we are not overjoyed with our efforts so far," Coughlin said. "We came into the weekend with a new engine combination that had showed us tons of promise in testing and we were really chomping at the bit to get all of our runs in during qualifying.
"Having that rain hit us yesterday, which ultimately shortened everything to just the one run Friday and the two today certainly didn't help us as far as sneaking up on this thing any quicker, so we wish that hadn't happened, but we all deal with the same conditions so there's no complaints."
Coughlin ran a 7.004 at 196.33 mph in Friday's lone round, and posted his run of record in Saturday's opening session. The third session, where many drivers managed to improve, was lost to a broken piece on his JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro.
"Today we had some parts fail on us in both runs, actually," Coughlin said. "If not, we could have been quicker, for sure. We'll now go back to the combination we are running in Erica (Enders, teammate's) car, which is running really well here. She's qualified No. 2 so fortunately for us, as a team, we do everything the same across the board, including sharing all of our tune-up secrets."
Although he'll need improved performance Sunday to win a third Denver title, Coughlin knows his Elite Motorsports group can flip the switch when needed.
"We've got good data," he said. "I'm confident we can pull this together for Round 1. We've got a big Round 1 match-up with Greg (Anderson) tomorrow so that will be fun. I urge all of our fans to sign on to their NHRA All Access accounts or tune into the live broadcast on the main FOX network to catch all the action. It should be a shootout."
With 14 cars in attendance, the modified elimination grid has Coughlin opening against four-time world champion Greg Anderson, who qualified fourth with a 6.945 at 197.83 mph. This year, Anderson is 2-0 versus Coughlin.
Pro Stock eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. The FOX Network will carry eliminations live from 1-4 p.m., Sunday. (All times are local and subject to change.)