CHARLOTTE (April 14) – JEGS.com Pro Mod driver Troy Coughlin made a heroic run in Saturday’s final qualifying session at zMax Dragway, but then lost in the first round of eliminations to exit the 4-Wide NHRA Nationals much sooner than he expected.
Coughlin had been out of the field before making his final run, but rebounded nicely by posting a blistering 6.013-second quarter-mile pass at 245.81 mph to qualify the JEGS.com 1968 turbocharged Camaro in the No. 7 spot.
When the action moved to sudden-death eliminations, Coughlin managed to improve in with a pass of 6.005 at 250.97 mph, but he fell on a holeshot to Mike Knowles, who ran a slower but winning 6.031 at 243.50 mph.
“We’d been driving decent most of the weekend,” Coughlin said. “I just got beat on a holeshot. Where that reaction time came from was obviously a loss of concentration somewhere. It’s a bummer.”
Coughlin’s reaction times had been good during qualifying, but he was a few ticks late in eliminations. Still, the Delaware, Ohio, native was pleased with the progress his Camaro has made under the new leadership of crew chief Steve Petty.
“We keep tuning up on the car and it gets a little bit better each time,” Coughlin said. “They’ll work on something, and it makes the car work a little bit better. It’s been going like that all year. On the last timed run, we ran good enough to get in. We had a good race car. The car’s working better, but it needs to be in the mid-5.90s in these conditions to be a player, so we’ll continue to work on it.”
Coughlin shook the tires and shut down early in Q1, and then the car darted near the centerline in Q2. In the final qualifying session, Coughlin had been bumped out of the field by the time he took his turn, then blasted all the way to the top half of the chart.
Then came the unfortunate holeshot loss in eliminations. Losing is never easy, but it’s worse for most drivers to lose on a holeshot. Although Coughlin said he won’t hang his head.
“It does bother me, but it’s kind of water under the bridge already,” Coughlin said. “We’re moving on to Houston. We can’t go backwards. We’ll put it in the notes and go back and hit the practice tree and keep practicing and practicing and practicing and practicing until we get better.
“The good news is we have a great car and crew and we’ll be in the mix.”
The Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx next takes to the track April 27-29 at Royal Purple Raceway in Houston.
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