Not bad for a driver who readily admits he’s still figuring out the power curve on his brand new nitrous-powered hot rod.
“We know we not making the same power as the supercharged cars, at least right now, but as we’ve seen at the first few races, a premium has been placed on making sure you get down the racetrack every time,” Coughlin said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to qualify for every race, which only a few people have done so far, and we had a strong run at the last race in St. Louis.
“Suddenly you look up and you see you’re only a round out of first and your blood starts pumping. It’s an exciting time for us.”
As crazy as it sounds, only five racers have qualified for every event so far, with third-ranked Joe Baker and fifth-place Jay Payne the only men currently in front of Coughlin in the points to have contested all three trophies. (No. 8 Tony Pontieri and No. 10 Tim Tindle are the others).
“Our goal in Atlanta sounds pretty simple but I think it will work best for us,” said Coughlin, the reigning NMCA Pro Street champion. “We want to come out swinging, make sure we put up a strong run in the first round of qualifying, and tune the car from there. We need to get everything we can out of this set-up to have a chance.
“It’s going to be hot so consistency will be key. Hopefully, we’ll get all three qualifying rounds in so we can figure out exactly what we’ve got before eliminations start. We need to do better in qualifying so we can start on the fast side of the ladder.”
Since the team’s successful semifinal finish two weeks ago in St. Louis, Coughlin said crew chief Rickie Smith didn’t want to make any changes to the racecar.
“We cleaned up the engine, went through the car to make sure all the nuts and bolts were tight and all the wires were crimped, and we put it back in the trailer and had the guys head south,” Coughlin said. “Getting down the track, especially in the first few rounds, will be key. Once you get through to the semis, then you need to be ready to get after it, but we’ll worry about that when we get there.”
Professional qualifying for Pro Mod begins at 3:15 and 5:45 p.m. Friday.
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