ATLANTA (Sept. 16) — Pro Street driver Troy Coughlin scored his second runner-up finish of the 2006 National Muscle Car Association’s Edelbrock series Saturday at Atlanta Dragway. Coughlin lost to points leader Vinny Budano by two hundredths of a second in a make-up finale of the Ross Pistons Nationals from three weeks ago. The race was run during Saturday’s qualifying action for this weekend’s Nitto Tire Nationals.

“It was a great race all the way down the track,” Coughin said. “We were door handle to door handle until the finish line. He just got there first and my hat’s off to that team. The track got hot today and it was tricky but we were both dealing with the same conditions. He won, plain and simple.”

The runner-up finish officially moved Coughlin into second place in the points. He now trails Budano by just three rounds of action with eight left this season. Just as they are in the points, Budano and Coughlin are qualified 1-2 heading into Sunday’s eliminations.

“There is no room for error if we want to win the championship,” said Coughlin, the driver of the JEGS Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier. “The good news is we have lane choice in Round 1 and this has pretty much been a one-lane track ever since this huge oildown occurred late this evening so if we can maintain lane choice throughout eliminations, I think we have a great chance of winning the race.

“I feel real good about our chances. We ran a 6.55 and a 6.59 in qualifying so we know we can run with anyone here, including Vinny. It’ll come down to reaction times and who does the best job of driving their racecar. Hopefully, that’ll be me.”

The season ends Oct. 5-8 at Memphis Motorsports Park with the Nitto Tire NMCA World Street Finals. Saturday’s runner-up finish has locked up a top-three finish for the former Pro Stock star.

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