Coughlin and his JEGS.com teammates have been close to perfect over the past two events, setting a national record en route to a big win in Chicago before plowing through the field in Charlotte by posting the quickest elapsed time of every round.
“We didn’t do much to the car other than clean everything up and double check all the components,” Coughlin said. “If we can keep it repeating like it has been and stay in that low 6.3-second range, we like our chances.
“This is a big weekend. If we could pull off another win, which would be an incredible feat considering the teams we expect to face, then we could pretty much put it away because there’s only one race left after this one. But we’re confident in the fact that everyone will be bringing their ‘A’ game to this meet. It should be exciting.”
Coughlin enters Milan with a lead of 240 points, or the equivalent of two and a half rounds of elimination action. With just eight rounds left on the table, each session he survives will put him one step closer to his first professional-level championship.
“Vinny Budano is the guy closest to us in the points and he’s won a bunch of races and championships over here so I’m sure he’ll push us to the bitter end,” Coughlin said. “Chris Rini is back there lurking in third and he’s shown all of us what he’s capable of doing with that hot rod. Plus, there’re three or four others mathematically alive so you can’t count them at either. Anything can happen. It’s NMCA drag racing.
“I’m not sure who wants (the title) more, me or my crew guys — Brian Metzenheim, Mike Rees, and Clint Allerton. These guys are so focused on the job at hand. They’ve given me a perfect car to drive all year and I don’t expect that to change. I’ve honestly never had a better car in 20-something years of drag racing and it’s because of my guys. They certainly deserve the championship because they are a championship-caliber crew.
“We need to just stay within ourselves and do what we’ve been doing. It’s easy to get off track. We’ve done it in the past. This time we’re going to stay on task and get it done.”
Gates open at noon Friday, with racing action set to begin at 3 p.m. with testing. The first round of qualifying begins at 7 p.m. Friday.
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