ATCO, N.J. (Aug. 12) – Racing in one of the biggest E.T. bracket events of the year against some of the toughest competition in the country, Troy Coughlin Jr. left the AA Auto Salvage Super Bucks Weekend presented by JEGS with his head held high after turning in several late-round finishes.

Racing in three separate events each paying $25,000 to the winner, Coughlin advanced to the fourth round on two occasions and scored a second-round finish in another. He also turned in a quarterfinal finish in the special "dragster race" held Thursday night.

"My JEGS.com car was great all weekend and overall, I was pretty happy with my driving," Coughlin said. "We just couldn’t get over the hump and get a win. These races are so darn hard to win that everything has to be just perfect. We were good, but we weren’t perfect.

"I have raced here at Atco before and it’s a tough place to race. The track is good and my car was consistent but the competition here is second-to-none. [Event promoter] Tom Stalba and [track operator] Joey Sway do a great job with this race. It’s definitely one of the best bracket races of the year."

After successful runs in his JEGS.com dragster during the first three days of the event, Coughlin and crew chief Jay Schroeder elected to try a new strategy for Sunday’s final event. Coughlin, who was helped by teammate Kenny Underwood, elected not to change their dial-in time of 6.25-seconds on the 1,000-foot course. The strategy proved to be effective as Coughlin won several rounds until being sidelined by a red-light start against eventual winner Al Kenny.

"I probably made 10 runs around 6.25 seconds so that’s where we decided to put the dial-in," Coughlin said. "We told ourselves we weren’t going to move off that number and we didn’t. That’s an effective strategy because it forces you to pay attention as a driver. I was really focused and I felt like we were going to have our best race of the weekend. I just happened to red-light but sometimes, you can’t help that."

Overall, Coughlin made more than 20 runs in competition during the weekend and after two straight weekends of high-stakes E.T. bracket races, he feels well prepared to make his national event debut in the Super Gas class at next weekend’s Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minn.

"I feel like I’m driving really well right now and I can’t wait to get back in the Super Gas car," Coughlin said. "The last time I drove it, I started to feel really comfortable. Now, I’m eager to see what I can do at a national event. It should be a lot of fun."

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