NORWALK, Ohio – Top Sportsman driver Mike Coughlin posted a round two finish during this weekend’s NHRA North Central Division Lucas Oil Series event in Norwalk, Ohio. Coughlin put his Chevy Cobalt in the No. 5 qualifying spot in the very quick 32-car field and raced his way past Boyd Beyer’s Mustang in round one before losing a close race against Ricky Adkins in round two. Coughlin had a better starting line reaction time than Adkins, but lost when he ran under his 6.90-second dial-in with a 6.88. Adkins, of Toledo, Ohio, went on to win the event and also claimed a runner-up finish in the Top Dragster class.

“I made a very good run, but Ricky was a little better,” said Coughlin. “When we were choosing our dial-in, I thought a 6.90 was just about right but as it turns out, we were a little conservative in our prediction. Ricky is extremely tough and I would have had to make an almost perfect run in order to beat him. It wasn’t the result we were looking for but when I look at the big picture, I’m pretty optimistic because the car performed very well.”

In an attempt to improve his performance, Coughlin made major changes to his Jerry Bickel-built Cobalt last winter, including a the installation of a 790-cid “mountain motor” from noted Pro Stock engine builder Sonny Leonard. As it turns out, Coughlin likely would not have qualified for the tough Norwalk field if he hadn’t made the improvements.

“Last year, my car was pretty consistently in the 7.20s and 7.30s,” said Coughlin. “The bump spot at this race was a 7.15 so I’m almost certain that we would have been going home on Saturday night if we didn’t have our new engine. Obviously, the Top Sportsman class is getting more and more popular and you’ve got to be able to adapt in order to stay ahead of the game. It’s still very early in the year so I don’t think the championship is out of reach at all. We’ll just go home, regroup, and be ready for the next race.”

The next Top Sportsman event on the North Central Division schedule will be June 15-17 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.


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