Perfect start doesn't yield win for Coughlin Jeg Coughlin started his run at a fourth Las Vegas victory Sunday with a touch of perfection. Unfortunately, he exited instead in Round 2 when his Jeg's Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T didn't get him...
Perfect start doesn't yield win for Coughlin
Jeg Coughlin started his run at a fourth Las Vegas victory Sunday with a touch of perfection. Unfortunately, he exited instead in Round 2 when his Jeg's Mail Order Dodge Stratus R/T didn't get him past back-to-back series champion Greg Anderson.
The day started on a high note when Coughlin executed a perfect reaction time of .000 seconds at the starting line to leave well ahead of opening-round rival Jim Yates, who left with a .060-second launch. The three-time NHRA champion never looked back, zipping away to an easy 6.885- to 6.890-second victory.
Although not perfect, Coughlin, who posted top speed of the entire event, once again left ahead of quarterfinal opponent Anderson by a .041 to .067 margin. The difference this time was that the quick start didn't translate to win at the other end as Coughlin's Dodge crept out of the The Strip's narrow groove and spun its tires, zapping the momentum his powerful Hemi had gained for him.
"We were a little too aggressive with the tune-up," Coughlin said. "We had earned lane choice going into the round and I still feel like we selected the good lane, but we had excessive wheel speed and the car decided to drive out towards the wall.
"In the heat of battle you never think about lifting unless it's absolutely critical so I stayed with it and tried to coax it back into the center of the lane. It was tough because I was a full car length out of the groove but the car responded. The problem was that by the time it started hooking back up I could see that Greg was clearly ahead and that I had no chance of catching him. I knew I was done."
In the end, Coughlin succumbed to Anderson by a tenth of a second.
"We learned a bunch this weekend and we're pleased to have qualified so well and to have had the fastest car on the property," Coughlin said. "We'll be ready to go at the next race and maybe we can put this old Dodge in the winner's circle."
Coughlin made an important move up in the King Demon Crown bonus points standings this weekend with his fourth-place qualifying effort. A two-time winner of the special event, which invites the top eight qualifiers from the previous 12 months to battle for big cash prizes, Coughlin is now firmly in the field in seventh place. With four races to go until the 2005 King Demon Crown is contested in Chicago, Coughlin is just 70 points out of fifth place, which is most likely the best position he can hope for at this point.
The POWERade Drag Racing Series will take a weekend off before a string of six races in seven weekends, beginning with the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn. The four racing Coughlin brothers will have no time off, however, as they plan to host and race in next weekend's JEGS.com Cajun SPORTSnationals in Belle Rose, La.