It turns out he was right, and smiles came easy in the JEGS.com pit after Coughlin qualified in the top half of the field with a 5.999 at 236.84 mph and then won his opening round elimination race against Dennis Radford with a 6.014 at 236.63 mph to Radford’s 6.074 at 230.17 mph.
“When we left the hotel this morning I had some fans say to me, ‘I hope it doesn’t rain today. Do you think you can get in?'” Coughlin said. “I told them, ‘If we can get the car from one end to the other we’re not only going to get in, we’re going to look good doing it.’
“Rickie (Smith, tuner) and the rest of the guys made some changes to the car and it went right down the track in Q3 with a 5.99. It didn’t hurt anything and that run put us on the fast side of the ladder so we had lane choice heading into eliminations. That’s when we started feeling pretty good. In Round 1 it basically repeated, after adjusting for the heat, and ran just like it had in qualifying so we got the round win.
“It sure feels better this evening than it did yesterday at this time.”
One of only two drivers in the category to have qualified for the first four events of the 10-race season, Coughlin will head into Sunday’s action prepared for a quarterfinal date against top qualifier Mike Janis. Janis beat a red-lighting Brad Personett in the opening round with an off-pace 8.576 at 108.62 mph, which means Coughlin will enjoy lane choice in the contest.
“(Lane choice) could turn out to be a pretty big advantage,” Coughlin said. “Mike had that really nice run in qualifying when he went to the top spot so we know what he’s capable of doing. We just need to get down the track again and put the pressure on him to try and beat us. I’ll be happy if we all do our jobs and don’t make any mistakes.”
The quarterfinal round of Pro Mod eliminations is scheduled for approximately 1:30 p.m. EDT Sunday.
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