CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES MOPAR PARTS NATIONALS NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES OLD BRIDGE TOWNSHIP RACEWAY PARK ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. TUESDAY, MAY 25, 1999 MIKE COUGHLIN AND TIM FREEMAN ADVANCE AFTER CLOSE WINS IN SEMIFINALS MIKE COUGHLIN,...
CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES MOPAR PARTS NATIONALS NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES OLD BRIDGE TOWNSHIP RACEWAY PARK ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. TUESDAY, MAY 25, 1999
MIKE COUGHLIN AND TIM FREEMAN ADVANCE AFTER CLOSE WINS IN SEMIFINALS
MIKE COUGHLIN, JEG'S MAIL ORDER CHEVY S-10, defeated BRAD JETER, JETER MOTORSPORTS CHEVY S-10, in the semifinals in probably the tighest race of the event. The margin of victory was a mere five thousandths of a second. It was a battle of reaction times and there weren't any better than was seen here in the semifinals. Jeter's reaction time was an outstanding .412, but Coughlin's was even better, .408. Coughlin's e.t. of 7.617 seconds at 175.09 mph was just one thousandth of a second quicker than Jeter's 7.618/175.78.
JETER: "A .412, and I still can't win. All in all, we had a good weekend, we can't complain. We're going to take our stuff back and get it freshened up and ready for Chicago. The motor's got quite a few runs on it, it's probably a little down. It's the way they all get, it's nothing anyone has done. It's probably just a little tired. It was a good drag race, we just came up on the losing side. Maybe we can get them next time. The crew did a great job, the guys at (Bill 'Grumpy') Jenkins did a great job, I did a decent job driving, I guess, we just got beat." ON THAT RUN: "I knew we had to go, I knew I had to get on the tree (starting lights); Mike's been good on the tree all weekend. If I was going to win, I had to do my job. I did it as best as I could do it, but I got beat. They did a good job, bottom line. I knew at the speed trap light (just before the finish line) that he was probably taking the stripe first. We needed to win for the points; we'll just get them in Chicago."
TIM FREEMAN, BLUEGRASS TRANSPORTATION CHEVY S-10, eliminated BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA MOTORSPORTS CHEVY S-10, even though Panella had a near-perfect reaction time of .401 to Freeman's .421. Freeman won with an elapsed time of 7.602 seconds at 175.52 mph in the left lane to Panella's 7.631/177.07.
PANELLA: "I just made a terrible run, I don't really know why. The S-10 was pretty good, maybe I've used up my bad luck here and will do well in Chicago. We definitely have enough power, we just have to make good runs." ON THAT RUN: "I drove down the centerline all the way down the track for some reason. It left good, the first 60 feet were OK, then it drove itself to the centerline, and it was too late by the time I got it back going straight." ON LANE CHOICE: "We had lane choice. And typically the rest of the weekend it's been the better of the two lanes (the right lane). Today, I don't know. It looks like Steve Schmidt (Pro Stock) had problems in tht lane also." ON WAITING TWO DAYS TO RACE: "Naturally, you don't wnat to come out here after two days and have bad luck and make a bad run. There's four of the best trucks in the class racing in these semifinals. Someone's got to win and someone's got to lose, we just came up on the short end of the stick. I don't think the rain was a problem, maybe our setup wasn't conducive to the track. I don't think you can blame it on the rain. They (the Safety Safari) did a good job preparing it."
PRO STOCK TRUCK -- CHEVY S-10 -- FINALS
In an absolute dead heat, MIKE COUGHLIN, JEG'S MAIL ORDER CHEVY S-10, in his first ever Pro Stock Truck final, defeated TIM FREEMAN, BLUEGRASS TRANSPORTATION CHEVY S-10, with an e.t. of 7.637 seconds at 174.50 mph to Freeman's 7.614/175.43. Reaction times were the name of the game today in what is turning out to be the toughest pro class in NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Coughlin won on a holeshot advantage, with a .448 reaction time to Freeman's .471. Coughlin's e.t.s throughout the final eliminations have been awesome: .428, .410, .408, and finally .448.
COUGHLIN: "We figured it out and it was less than a thousandth (of a second) at the end of the race track. I had a better light, the S-10 did it's job. We've been working on the 60-ft. time to get it down and be competitive. We've also been working on the engine tuneup every run and trying to make it good, and it seems to be working." ON YOUR FIRST PRO WIN: "It's pretty neat. I have always wanted it, this is my 14th year in NHRA racing and I've been trying at least that long, so it feels pretty good. It's something I've always dreamed of, hopefully we can get some more." ON THE CLOSE RACING IN THIS SERIES: "Racing guys the caliber we race against it's tough, you have to be on your game. They're all good, there are not many of them who can't do the job, that's for sure." MANY OF THE PRO STOCK TRUCK DRIVERS HAVE A LOT OF SPORTSMAN EXPERIENCE: "There's a lot of different people who raced a lot of different types of vehicles, whether it's dragster, full-bodied cars or roadsters, whatever. The more types of cars that you drive could make you even better yet. I think the guys we have in Pro Stock Truck are as good or as bad as anybody out there." YOUR REACTION TIMES WERE YOUR EDGE HERE: "Our engine development program is starting to turn around. We are not running the big speeds like some of them are, but we are getting closer. I have been working real hard on focusing on driving and trying to have good reaction times and that's what it takes. Sometimes you can run slower and win. There are a lot of factors involved and that's one of them. That's something I can control and I've been working real hard on it." ON THAT RUN: "I could see just a little bit of him out of my peripheral vision. I could just see the tip of his nose. I felt I was ahead of him, it kind of appeared that way. I tried to hang on as long as possible. When the win light came on I knew it had to be literally inches. It was probably three or four inches, it was snug."
FREEMAN: "It's one of those things. You know it's going to be a tough race any time you race him. Last time I got him, this time I came up on the short end of a win; it came down to less than one thousandth (of a second). It wasn't my day, it was his. It's tough to lose by that margin, I'd rather it had been by a mile. At least I was in the final, that's good. The last two races I drove better, hopefully I will get to the winner's circle some time this year." IT'S A TOUGH SERIES, IS IT FRUSTRATING? "It's not frustrating, it's exciting, I can't wait to go again. That's what it's about, it's not frustrating. I moved up in the points a little bit, that's always a plus." HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CLOSE RACING IN THIS CLASS? "It makes it fun. I like it this year better than last year. Last year (Larry) Kopp had the field covered by quite a bit. This year it's definitely much tougher racing." YOU HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO WIN HERE: "More or less, pretty much, yes. Mike drove good all weekend, I didn't. I drove good all but one run, and that was the final. I didn't drive bad, I just could have been better." ON BEING HERE TWO EXTRA DAYS: "It's tough enough going from Saturday to Sunday, but (being here) two extra days is really hard, but, since the first round, all four drivers were ready. The worst light was a .421 out of the four. It's tough, but everybody was ready."
* Chevy S-10s have won each of the six races so far this season. * Four different drivers have won this season.
1. Mark Osborne, Chevy S-10 530 2. Brad Jeter, Chevy S-10 458 3. Bob Panella Jr., Chevy S-10 427 4. Randy Daniels, Chevy S-10 405 5. Tim Freeman, Chevy S-10 374