NORWALK, Ohio (June 29) — Reigning series champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. had high hopes for this weekend’s NHRA race in his home state of Ohio. In the end, Coughlin’s exceptionally fast racecar didn’t carry him as far as he would have liked, as the 52-time national event winner re-learned the lesson that the best car doesn’t always win in drag racing.

“This was a rough weekend, no doubt,” Coughlin said. “The exciting thing is we have a great racecar on our hands with this Chevrolet Cobalt we were the quickest or second quickest of every round we raced. I just didn’t do my job as a driver.”

Coughlin was eliminated in Sunday’s first round of professional eliminations on a holeshot — meaning his opponent ran slower than Coughlin down the quarter-mile but managed to win the race because he left the starting line first and had enough of a cushion to stay ahead.

In this particular case, opponent Justin Humphrey’s reacted to the Christmas Tree in .010 seconds, ahead of Coughlin’s .041-second start. The chase was on from there and Coughlin was closing the gap quickly, but he simply ran out of racetrack and lost by .008 seconds, carding a 6.698 at 205.94 mph to Humphrey’s 6.721 at 204.85 mph.

“I don’t know what happened,” Coughlin said. “I have lots of confidence in my racecar and, quite frankly, I was confident in myself this morning. I just didn’t hit the Tree. Every now and then this happens and I get in a rut. It always feels like it lasts forever but usually it’s just a race. I know I’ll be thinking about this every day until we get to Denver.”

Coughlin and the rest of the NHRA pro’s next race July 11-13 at Bandimere Speedway in Denver. The track is unique in that it’s located a mile above sea-level.

“We always have a lot of incentive to win these races but considering the weekend I just had I will be fully prepared for Denver,” Coughlin said. “It’s a challenging race for the crew chief and the engine guys because of the different way you need to tune the car up there. It’s weird for the drivers too because we stay in each gear a little longer.

“We have an exceptional team here and the car is running great. I’m actually very excited about what we’re doing. There’s nothing I can do about this weekend at this point except put it behind us and move on, so that’s what we’ll do.”

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