BRADENTON, Fla. (March 28) — Troy Coughlin’s weekend at the season-opening seventh annual Ross Pistons NHRA Muscle Car Nationals is off to a tremendous start at Bradenton Motorsports Park. Coughlin has guided his Pontiac GXP through three low-6.4 second runs, including a best of 6.43 at 220 mph, to earn the No. 3 spot in the 16-car Pro Street field.

“I’ve got a really fast bracket car on my hands,” Coughlin said. “This thing is just perfect. It’s repeating every pass and all three qualifying runs were within two hundredths of a second of each other. It makes it very easy to drive.

“A big part of finding success in drag racing is when the driver knows his car is so good that he doesn’t have to think about anything but making perfect runs. We’re feeling great in the pit and we’re looking forward to eliminations.”

Sudden-death elimination racing will begin at noon EDT pending track preparation. Sunday morning did begin with some light sprinkles although the forecast calls for clearing skies and excellent conditions.

“We’ll have to give the track surface a good look because it can change a bit when it rains,” Coughlin said. “Otherwise we’ll just have to break out the rain tires!

“It’s been a couple years but it’s great to be back with the NMCA guys. My ol’ buddy Vinnie Budano and his guys are back in their familiar spot on the pole so they’re giving us something to aim for once again.”

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