Joliet, Ill. (June 13) – Taking full advantage of the momentum created by his season-opening win last month in Indianapolis, Mike Coughlin struck again as he drove his Cobalt to the Top Sportsman title in the final round of the North Central Division Lucas Oil Series event at Route 66 Raceway. Coughlin extended his winning streak behind the wheel of his 200-mph Chevy to ten-straight rounds to collect the tenth Lucas Oil Series title of his career. Coughlin drove to a 6.761 elapsed time on his 6.76 dial-in after opponent Kevin Waller encountered a mechanical problem and was late off the starting line. Ironically, Coughlin would have lost the round on a breakout had he run quicker by just two-thousandths of a second, but he managed to lift off the throttle at precisely the right moment.
“We had some good fortune but we’ll take it,” said Coughlin. “We were especially lucky in the final, which was a very goofy race. His car coughed on the starting line and he was late. Then, my car spun the tires in the middle of the track so I thought there was no way I was going to break out. I got off the gas just before the finish line and although I cut it close, it all worked in our favor.
Throughout five tough rounds of racing, Coughlin’s starting line reaction times were both quick and consistent as he varied only slightly from a best of .007-seconds to a very competitive .027 in the final. The steady driving has helped contribute to an enviable record that now includes six victories in his last six appearances in NHRA divisional events. Coughlin has not lost a divisional final since the 2003 Joliet race.
“I don’t get to race very often so I have to try and make the most of every chance I get,” said Coughlin. “I was unaware that I was riding that kind of a win streak but I’ll take it. I owe all the credit to my father, Jeg Coughlin Sr., and my crew, Greg Cody and Tony Collier. They work hard to give me a great race car and without them, this deal just wouldn’t work. My job is easy because all I have to do is drive. I also want to thank my son, Clay. He really enjoys coming to the races and he helped me warm the car before each run. My son Jack had some baseball games at home that he and my wife Kriss attended. We were all keeping up on each other activities throughout the weekend.”
Earlier this year, Coughlin won the season-opening Lucas Oil series event in Indianapolis and he was already the leader of the Top Sportsman class before entering the Joliet round. While he acknowledges that the title is far from clinched, Coughlin admits that he likes his chances of winning a third championship in the last four years.
“Coming into this race, we knew we needed to build on the momentum from the Indy win and that’s exactly what we did,” said Coughlin. “I’m not counting chickens just yet, but if we can do well at the [rain-delayed] Norwalk race I’d say our chances are good. We’ve also got two races coming up this year at our home track, National Trail Raceway, and that’s my favorite track. No matter what happens, we’re having a great season and I’m enjoying it a lot.”
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