Just as he has so many times in the past, Coughlin responded to the self-imposed pressure by driving to the provisional pole with a stellar 6.592 at 208.97 mph. It was a big moment for Coughlin and his legion of friends, family members, co-workers, and fans who made the drive up from the Columbus area to paint the track yellow and black.
“When the sun went down and it started cooling off a bit with that full moon shining, I think the crew chiefs got real excited,” Coughlin said. “I knew it would be key to keep the car in the middle of the groove and make sure I took it to the other end properly, and that’s exactly what happened. It’s a great start to the weekend, especially with the K&N Horsepower Challenge firing up in the morning. We needed to be hitting on all cylinders and we are.
“The JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt has been going nice and straight for the last four or five races and it responded well tonight and we were able to poke it into the 6.50 range, so we’re really pleased. I don’t think anyone else ran a 6.50.”
Adding to the anxiety of the evening session was the fact four cars crashed prior to Coughlin’s turn — two in Pro Mod and two more in Pro Stock. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the carnage sent a weird vibe through the staging lanes.
“Pro Stock cars don’t have big wings so we definitely put as much angle as we could on there tonight,” Coughlin said. “We knew that would give us a bit more bite even at the expense of a little ET but we were okay with that. I didn’t see the two Pro Mod wrecks but I did watch the two in Pro Stock and I knew from seeing that it would be vital to keep the car in the middle of the track because the groove is narrow right now.”
The K&N Horsepower Challenge begins at noon EDT, with subsequent rounds at 2:20 p.m. and 4:05 p.m.
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Scott “Woody” Woodruff
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