Cajun SPORTSnationals Friday summary

Troy Coughlin and teammate atop Pro Mod chart in Louisiana Pro Mod rookie Troy Coughlin rocketed through a pair of career-best runs during the opening day of qualifying at the second annual Jegs.com NHRA Cajun SUPERnationals to earn the No. 2...

Troy Coughlin and teammate atop Pro Mod chart in Louisiana

Pro Mod rookie Troy Coughlin rocketed through a pair of career-best runs during the opening day of qualifying at the second annual Jegs.com NHRA Cajun SUPERnationals to earn the No. 2 slot in the provisional field. Coughlin's best of 6.225 seconds at 225.94 mph was only outshined by his Gotham City teammate Mike Ashley. The defending series champion was timed at 6.188 at 227.02 mph.

"Now we have a racecar," an exuberant Coughlin said of his Jeg's Mail Order Ford Mustang. "Now we're showing we have a car that's capable of running big numbers. We've known this all along but until the last two passes in Las Vegas and the two we made today, everyone else was probably wondering what was wrong with us."

Opening qualifying action in the heat of the day at 2 p.m., Coughlin was in the second pair of cars to traverse a tricky No Problem Raceway. But the veteran drag racer used his decade of experience in Pro Stock cars to guide his hot rod straight down the strip with a smooth 6.292 at 223.33 mph. It was a great way to start the weekend.

"Chuck [Ford, crew chief] set the car up soft because we didn't want to overpower the track in low gear," Coughlin said. "We wanted to stay safe and try to give Mike, who was behind us, some good data. When I saw the 6.29 on the time slip I was thrilled. Chuck checked out the data and saw that we were a little rich with the fuel, plus a few other things he wanted to change, like leaving at a higher RPM, and the guys went to work. Whatever changes they made certainly worked."

In the slightly cooler evening session, Coughlin's bright yellow car brought the crowd to its feet when he streaked to a 6.225 at 225.94 mph, which held the top spot until the final pair when Ashley edged him for Day 1 top honors.

"I haven't had this feeling of confidence in a long time," Coughlin said. "I've got such a great feeling right now. This has reminded me why I drag race. The car is awesome. We're 1-2 on the qualifying sheet, the crew guys are ecstatic on both sides of the pit, and I'm on top of the world. This is so neat to be a part of."

Coughlin will have two more time trails at 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday to prep his car for Sunday's sudden-death eliminations, which begin at 11 a.m.

-www.jegs.com

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Troy Coughlin , Mike Ashley