BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 18) – Troy Coughlin and the JEGS.com Pontiac team bounced back from a disappointing weekend in Englishtown, N.J., to qualify 13th and advance to the second round of the Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series NHRA Ford Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Coughlin raced into the Pro Mod field with his turbocharged small-block Chevrolet engine, going 6.127 seconds at 243.37 mph. Then, after No. 4 qualifier Rickie Smith crashed in his last qualifying run, Coughlin was matched up against Ed Hoover, who was third in the series points standings coming into the Bristol race.
Despite being the underdog, Coughlin knocked Hoover out with a run of 6.034 at 245.94 mph.
“Englishtown, that’s behind us,” Coughlin said. “To come here and qualify, win a round, and beat a guy who’s No. 3 in the points, that’s pretty strong. It shows how strong this JEGS.com team is. It’s all down to communication and putting our best foot forward. It feels awesome, no doubt.”
Coughlin made two solid passes in each of the first two rounds of qualifying and then made his best pass in Saturday’s third and final round, just before rains caused a three-hour delay at the track.
“We made good tuning adjustments, and we’re trying to sneak back up on this thing and get it to run,” Coughlin said. “Thank God we got the last pass in the third session, because we needed to see what it would do after the tune-up change we made. That gave us the confidence to keep going a certain direction to make it better and better and better. We picked up a tenth or so from the last qualifying pass.
“It’s just being better prepared, better communication, and having the best pieces and parts in the car – and rocking and rolling.”
Coughlin faces Pro Mod points leader Khalid Balooshi in the second round of eliminations on Sunday afternoon. Balooshi has lane choice, but Coughlin says he has more speed in the JEGS.com Pontiac.
“We have a little bit left,” Coughlin said. “We think we can pick up the first half of the track. The back half of the track, we can pick up a little bit more, too, but we’ve got to fix the front. We’ve got to get the balance of this thing right. We’re getting there.”
The quarterfinal round is scheduled to begin around 2:15 ET.
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