BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (Aug. 30) — Semifinal finishes by 2007 Division 3 champions John and Mike Coughlin produced big results Sunday at Beech Bend Raceway Park as action in the North Central Division of the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series took center stage.

John’s run to the final four of Top Dragster in his rail helped him regain the point lead he held earlier this season. John also went four rounds in Super Stock, where he still has an outside shot at winning the class.

Mike kept pace in the Top Sportsman category, running through to the semis before bowing out to Marco Abruzzi. Unofficially, the strong showing moved Mike from seventh to third overall and he still has one race in hand to count towards the final standings.

Team JEGS stablemates Troy Coughlin Jr. and Samantha Kenny also participated in the meet in Super Comp, with T.J. reaching Round 2 and Kenny exiting in Round 1.

“This was such a fun weekend for all of us and it’s fortunate me and Mike raced to the semis because it helped us both out quite a bit in the points,” John said. “Regaining the point lead was our top goal and we achieved that early on and were then able to put a few rounds on the guys right behind us so we’re real happy about that.”

After qualifying 17th on the Top Dragster ladder with a 6.796 at 197.88 mph, John opened with a nice victory over top qualifier Jerry Powell II. He then dismissed David Strain and Junior McKague before running into Robert Cireddu in the semis.

The race was close from start to finish with both men leaving within .004 seconds. At the other end, Cireddu ran dead-on his 6.790 dial to edge Coughlin by .01 seconds.

“It was just a great race,” John said of the run. “There’s obviously not mush room when your opponent runs dead-on. He ran a great race.”

In a field of 103 Super Stock cars, John collected another trio of winning time slips, beating Robin Brown, Allen Wade, and Jim Smiley before squaring off with Matt Morris in Round 4. Just as it was in Top Dragster, John had another great pass, leaving with a near-perfect .003-second reaction time and posting an 8.616 at 151.85 mph on the scoreboards. But Morris managed to eke out the win by a mere three inches, carding a 10.830 at 118.12 mph on a 10.81 dial. The final margin of victory was 12-ten-thousandths of a second.

On the Top Sportman grid, Mike put in a solid effort before handing the semifinal win to Abruzzi by taking a little too much stripe at the top end. Mike ran a 6.866 at 197.83 mph on a 6.87 dial, while Abruzzi posted a 6.931 at 201.16 mph on a 6.91 dial. Abruzzi went on to win the event in the next round when his opponent fouled out.

It was Mike’s earlier victories over Kenneth Langlois, Charlie Edelen, and Stephen Brinegar, combined with early-round exits by some of the major players in the class that allowed him to move into championship contention.

“Three of the guys ahead of me in the points coming into this race all lost in Round 1 so I knew early on we had a chance to make up some ground,” Mike said. “It was great to get out there and go rounds. Our goal was to win the race, and we came close to reaching the final round, but it’s still exciting to get a big boost in the points.

“This was just our fourth race of the year so we’ve got room to move up some more. Most of the others have already run all of the races they need so they’re just looking for better finishes. It’s getting exciting.”


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