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NHRA Divisional Drag Racing - Mike Coughlin Racks Up More Points While Troy Jr. Regroups

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JOLIET, June 11, 2012: It wasn’t the victory he desired, but when Team JEGS driver Mike Coughlin looks at the big picture, his semifinal finish in Sunday's North Central Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Route 66 Raceway will certainly help boost his chances for a third Top Sportsman title.

Midway through the 2012 season, Coughlin is tied for third place, just 30 points out of the lead.

"I wanted to go a couple more rounds but it was just not meant to be," Coughlin said. "We made up some ground this weekend but we could have done better as far as the points go. It’s a little disappointing but we’re not out of it by any means."

Coughlin, the winner of the Joliet divisional event in three of the past seven years, qualified his Cobalt in the No. 7 spot and then used a string of nearly perfect reaction times to top Brian Brown, Fred Sommer and Ricky Adkins before losing a close battle to eventual winner Stephen Brinegar in the semifinals.

"The track was hot and we just overpowered it a little," Coughlin said. "It shook the tires and we got beat. I honestly didn’t see it coming because this car doesn’t do that very often. I was a couple hundred feet out and it started shaking. I thought it would stop on its own but I had to lift off the throttle for an instant and that was the end of it. You never want to give up but I pretty much had no choice."

Coughlin’s nephew, Troy Jr., was also primed for a big weekend in Joliet as he competed in both Top Dragster and Super Comp, but he suffered a pair of early round losses in each class. After an opening round loss in Super Comp, Coughlin later dropped a close race in Round 2 against Jeff Brown in the Spitzer Race Cars Top Dragster class.

"We had a plan and I had two great race cars but sometimes those plans just don’t come together," Troy Jr. said. "The guy I ran in Super Comp had a .011 light and ran an 8.903 and I had a .025 light so I had almost no chance to beat him. In Super Comp, I just need to be more aggressive on the starting line from now on.

"In Top Dragster, my car slowed down in the second round. We burned up a shifter solenoid so I think we may have an electrical problem. That solenoid is right against my leg and it got pretty hot so I got out of the car in a big hurry. Thankfully, it wasn’t any worse than it was. We’ll have the problem fixed for next week."

Next up for Mike Coughlin will be a return to Route 66 Raceway for the annual JEGS Allstars race on June 30 while Troy Jr. will head for Bristol Dragway for next weekend’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals where he will once again be racing in Top Dragster and Super Comp.