Coughlin qualified with a 6.097-second run at 245.58 mph Saturday morning, which pitted him against Danny Rowe in the first round of eliminations. When the money was on the line against Rowe, Coughlin pulled off his best pass of the weekend — a 6.060 at 246.39 mph — in arguably the worst conditions of the event, but Rowe was a tick better, sending Coughlin home by a few hundredths of a second.
“We’re running our small block as hard as we can,” Coughlin said. “In fact, we have two motors and they are both great, thanks to the hard work Jake (Hairston, crew chief) and the guys have put in. We’re still just a little overmatched going up against these big powerplants.
“We made some good strides here and picked the car up in places where we haven’t picked up before so we’re marching forward. We’re gaining on the big blocks and the supercharged guys and we’re getting closer to the pack each round, so that’s encouraging.”
Coughlin has a new car on the way, one that is big enough to handle a turbocharged big block engine, but he found out this weekend he likely won’t have it until after the national event in Norwalk, Ohio, which takes place June 23-26.
“There are some parts we’re waiting on so we won’t be ready with it by the next race in Atlanta like we had hoped,” the past Pro Street champion said. “That means we’ll continue to race this GTO for a little bit longer. We’re a good enough team to hang in there and if we can get to Georgia and pick up where we left off here we’ll be in great shape.
“All the strides were making with the GTO will transition right into the new car so it’s not like the work we’re doing now won’t help us down the road. We all hope we’ll get that new car sooner than Norwalk. We’ll just have to see.”
Up next for Coughlin is the Southern Nationals, May 13-15, in Commerce, Georgia, located 70 miles northeast of Atlanta near the University of Georgia.
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