“We saw some incredible numbers being posted at the first race in Gainesville (Fla.),” Coughlin said. “Some teams just blew the world record out of the water. That usually doesn’t happen in drag racing. I mean, you’ll see people gain a thousandth of a second here or there, but we saw improvements close to a tenth of second. It was remarkable.
“Our nitrous-powered JEGS.com Camaro is brand new and it was running pretty well but we have some work to do to catch up. We’re a few hundredths off the top NOS racers, and they’re almost nine hundredths off the best supercharged cars.”
One thing that should help Coughlin immediately is a rule change eliminating automatic shifters. Coughlin won the world title in the Pro Street category last year under National Muscle Car Association sanction and his winning racecar required manual gear changes.
“I’m basically getting back into the Pro Mod equivalent of a Pro Street car with this new rule,” he said. “It should definitely help us because it wasn’t that long ago we were pulling gears in NMCA competition. It may have been longer for some of the others.”
To get used to the new set-up and make sure his powerful car is in balance, Coughlin’s team is testing in Dallas in anticipation of this weekend’s race.
“Our new crew chief, Rickie Smith, is a multi-time world champion as a driver and he’s there with the boys right now getting the car tuned up,” Coughlin said. “I’ll fly in Wednesday and the plan is to make as many passes as we need to for all of us to feel comfortable.
“We have all the parts and pieces we need to run well. If we can get the driver, the tune-up, and the car together we will be competitive. We’re not expecting things to happen overnight but we do think Houston will be a lot better for us than Gainesville.”
Pro Mod qualifying begins with two sessions at 1:15 and 4:30 p.m. Friday.
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