HEBRON, Ohio (July 25) – Mike Coughlin’s pursuit of his third North Central Division Top Sportsman championship will have to wait a while longer after this weekend’s NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing series event at National Trail Raceway was postponed when track officials could not remedy a water seepage problem on the race course. The event will be completed on Thursday, Sept. 22, the day before the start of the seventh annual JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals. When the event resumes, Mike will return for a shot at the Top Sportsman title along with his brother, John, who will compete in Top Dragster and Super Street, and their nephew, third-generation racer T.J. Coughlin, who remains in contention for the Super Comp title.
After driving his JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt to a 7.01-second run, Mike was the No. 7 qualifier and he is scheduled to face No. 18 qualifier Glenn Teets when the event resumes.
“You hate it whenever a race is postponed but, in this case, it was definitely the right thing to do,” said Mike. “They had water seeping up on the track and there was more rain on the way. I know that [NHRA officials] considered a lot of different options including running the race late tonight or shortening the distance to an eighth-mile, but I’m glad they decided to move the race to September instead. I don’t like to race at night and my car was not running like it should have been. The weather was so hot that we were down on horsepower and when that happens, the suspension doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. We made a chassis adjustment and it worked but, I’d still prefer to try again in September when the weather is almost certainly going to be cooler.
“Besides, I generally have very good luck at the JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals and if I can get a little momentum going that weekend, we could really do a lot to help ourselves in the points,” Mike added.
During Top Dragster qualifying for the National Trail event, John drove his JEGS.com dragster to a 6.72 for the No. 11 spot. He is scheduled to face John Deakins in the first round. John will also be returning with a second entry after a last-minute deal to race his brother, Jeg’s classic Chevy II station wagon in the Super Street class.
“For the most part, we had a good weekend other than the rain,” said John. “My dragster ran well and I really had a good time racing Jeggie’s wagon in Super Street. That was kind of a last minute deal. At first, he just wanted me to test it for him and then it ran so well, we decided to enter it in Super Street.”
Although Jeg’s Chevy II is capable of nine-second elapsed times, John and JEGS Mail Order crew chief Kenny Underwood were able to formulate a plan to get it slowed in order to run close to the 10.90-second Super Street index.
“When I tested the car it ran 10.13,” said John. “Then we decided to shift it a tenth of a second into the run instead of the usual 2.5-seconds and it slowed down to a 10.85. Then we made a carburetor adjustment and it ran 10.899 so we were ready for the first round. Kenny and I had a lot of fun with it so we’re definitely looking forward to coming back in September.”
After spending most of the summer bracket racing, T.J. Coughlin was prepared to return to the Super Comp wars with his JEGS.com dragster but, like the rest of the family, he’ll now be content to wait two months before the event resumes.
“My car actually ran pretty well, but it was a bit slow because of all the heat and humidity,” said T.J. “I haven’t run too many Super Comp races lately but we were able to adapt pretty quickly. I’m headed to Atco [New Jersey] next weekend for another big bracket race but after that we’ve got three-straight Super Comp races coming up so it was good to make some runs in Super Comp mode this weekend.”
The Coughlin family was joined at their home track by their niece, Makenna Brown, who was hoping to continue her recent hot streak with her JEGS.com Jr. Dragster. The defending event champion at the National Trail Raceway Lucas Oil Series event, Makenna wasn’t as fortunate this time as she suffered a rare first round loss.
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