HOUSTON (March 29) — Pro Modified driver Troy Coughlin has a much improved racecar from the one he piloted two weeks ago in Gainesville, Fla. But this weekend’s 21st annual O’Reilly Spring NHRA Nationals showed his JEGS.com race team they still have room for improvement, as the veteran racer missed the cut for the second race in a row.

“We’re gaining ground on this thing in big steps,” Coughlin said. “It drives you crazy to work as hard as this group of guys has been working only to DNQ, but that’s drag racing. There are no provisionals, and we wouldn’t take one even if it was offered.

“The car wouldn’t even go straight in Florida and now it’s perfect in that department. We just can’t quite find the balance that it’s asking for. The only thing we can do is test the wheels off this thing and fix it. We’re determined to get our situation fixed.”

Coughlin is driving a supercharged car in 2008 after spending all of 2007 in a turbo-charged entry. The drastically different set-ups the two cars require render all of the data the team gathered last season of little value.

“It’s not fair to compare the two and it doesn’t really help us,” crew chief Brian Metz said. “Even the car we have now is different from the other blower cars out here. The wheelbase is slightly longer and it’s taking us some time to figure it out. We’re frustrated but it actually just makes us all the more anxious to get it right.”

The team’s best run of this event was a 6.796 at 229.04 mph, which placed them 21st on the grid. Only the top 16 advance to eliminations. Coughlin is tied for 20th in the points after two JEGS ProMod Challenge events.

“The season is still young so we have plenty of time to recover,” Coughlin said. ‘We’ll get it figured out and when we do, watch out.”

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