LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Nov. 7) – It wasn’t exactly the way that John Coughlin had hoped to end his 2010 season, but the Team JEGS driver was quickly able to find a silver lining in a pair of early round losses at the NHRA Division 7 Lucas Oil Series Finale at the famed Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“We didn’t win, but I did have a good time out here and in the end, that’s what matters most” said Coughlin, shortly after ending his season with a round two loss in Comp Eliminator and a round three loss in Top Dragster. “We came out here and gave it our best shot, but it just wasn’t enough this time. I mean, it’s hard to come to Las Vegas and now have a good time, but I was really hoping to win a few more rounds on the race track.”
Behind the wheel of his JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt Comp Eliminator entry, Coughlin qualified No. 11 in the very fast field. He defeated Chris McGaha in round one before a foul start ended his day against Pete Carbury in round two.
“My Comp car was really fast, but something is wrong with the clutch,” said Coughlin. “The car is erratic. Sometimes it will make a nice run and then the clutch will lock up and pull the engine down and that affects my reaction time. I think that’s what happened at this race. I’ve talked to [crew chief Jeff Taylor] about it, and we might try a little different clutch set-up in the future. I’m sure we’ll do some testing before we get started next year.”
Coughlin was slightly more successful in the Top Dragster class where he reached the third round before losing a close battle against Division 4 champ Keith Raftery. Coughlin, who used a clutch win at the 2009 Las Vegas Lucas Oil Series event to clinch the Division 3 championship, qualified his JEGS.com dragster in the No. 9 spot with a 6.635-second run. After defeating Stephanie Crifasi, in round one, Coughlin had to race round two opponent George Prather twice after a timing malfunction in Prather’s lane. Coughlin managed to win both times but couldn’t match Raftery in round three.
“I was driving really well today but when it started to get dark, I knew I was going to get quicker on my reaction times and I was a little afraid of red-lighting,” John continued. “For some reason, I don’t pick up as much as some people when it gets dark and I should know that. I had been .012 and .013 on my first two runs but I was .024 in that round and it wasn’t enough. I could have beaten him but I would have had to run right on the dial in order to do it. It was just a good close race.
“This is a marathon race,” he said. “There are so many cars that you end up racing all day and into the night. We had fun but it wasn’t quite as exciting as last year when I came out here and won the championship. Still, I had a good year and I did manage to finish third in Top Dragster which is not bad considering I brought out a new car midway through the season. I’m already looking forward to next season.”