Coughlin rode a strong tailwind of cool air in Friday’s first time trial and posted a competitive 6.663 at 205.04 mph in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt, which remained his best ET through the final three qualifying sessions.
“The first run out of the trailer was pretty good,” Coughlin said. “As it turns out those were the best conditions of qualifying and we were able to run our best elapsed time.
“We hurt a motor so we decided to switch it out and we would have had another great run Friday night but there was a small electrical issue that slowed us down.
“Today was a complete turnaround. It got hot and instead of getting blown down the track the wind was coming straight at us at probably 20-25 mph. Still, we stayed right at the top of the sheets so we’re happy and excited about race day.”
Sunday’s opening round will pit Coughlin against longtime friend Kurt Johnson, who qualified 14th with a 6.762 at 206.32 mph. Coughlin tenth of a second advantage earns him lane choice.
“Since our last first-round exit we’ve been to three final rounds and taken two wins so we’re definitely on an upswing,” said Coughlin, a 50-time winner in the Pro Stock class. “However, K.J. is always in top form against us and I don’t expect anything but the best from him tomorrow.
Coughlin has raced to two victories in four final-round showings at Heartland Park Topeka. He won Pro Stock in 2000 and in Super Stock in 1994 at this facility, while settling for second place in Pro Stock in 1998 and Competition Eliminator in 1997.
“There are things we can do to be more efficient but the JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt has been responding really well over the last month or so and we’re feeling good in the yellow and black pit right now,” he said. “It’s been awhile since we’ve won here so we might as well go for another one.”
Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. CDT with Pro Stock slated for a noon start. All of the action will be shown Sunday evening on ESPN2.
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