To win two NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series world championships, Troy Coughlin has shown an impressive penchant on making late-season runs to do so. To get a third world title, the talented veteran will have to do it again.
After a slow start, Coughlin has advanced to two straight final rounds, closing the gap to 82 points on Mike Castellana heading to this weekend’s NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series event as part of the 63rd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
“We’re in that second half of the Pro Mod season, and it’s time to get after it,” said Coughlin, who won in Bristol this year. “We’re trying to go a little faster and keep the car running [well]. We’re four to five rounds out of first with 16 rounds left. We’ve got a good car, a five-star team, and we’re a threat.”
The race, which is presented by JEGS.com, is the ninth of 12 events during the 2017 NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season and will be shown on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and Fox Sports 2 (FS2). Von Smith is the defending race winner.
Racing in Indy at the world’s most prestigious drag race is always a thrill for Coughlin, who has 10 career NHRA Pro Mod wins but none at Indy in his turbo-powered JEGS.com Chevrolet Corvette. He came close last year, qualifying No. 1 and losing to Smith in the final, and Coughlin hopes to close the deal this time. He’ll face off against a loaded field that also includes Shane Molinari, reigning world champ Rickie Smith, Steven Whiteley, and Steve Matusek, but it’s that competitiveness that makes the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals even more special.
“There’s a lot of hype because it’s Indy and that’s very cool,” Coughlin said. “It’s really awesome and really exciting to see what Pro Mod has done. It’s one of the fastest-growing classes out here. It’s cool to be part of this class. It’s fun to watch, fun to drive, and fun to go fast.”
It’s been more than two months since the Pro Mod class last competed, but Coughlin and his team, led by crew chief Steve Petty, have been busy testing to prepare for this final stretch. In past years, that has meant it’s time for Coughlin, who has always been impressive in key moments, to shine. Sensing the top-level competition that will try to match him over the final four races also seems to bring out the best in the Pro Mod standout, something he hopes leads him to his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals win in the class.
“We always seem to dig deep, and we’re fortunate to have a good group of guys surrounding us,” Coughlin said. “That’s what it takes. We’re constantly working on this thing to make it better. We put a lot of hard work into this thing. You start to see that competitiveness come out from all the racers at this race. It’s go time, and that’s what keeps you going.”
Featuring the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer race cars, the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series offers something for every kind of hot-rodding enthusiast. The class is highlighted by historic muscle cars, like ’67 Mustangs, ’68 Firebirds and ’69 Camaros, as well as a variety of late-model American muscle cars. With more than 3,000 horsepower, the suspended-door Pro Mod cars travel the quarter-mile in less than six seconds at speeds exceeding 250 mph.
NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, Sept. 1, with a qualifying session at 6:30 p.m., continuing with the two qualifying session on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 1:45 and 5 p.m., and the final qualifying session on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 2 p.m. Round one of eliminations takes place on Sunday at 5:25 p.m. and continues on Monday, Sept. 4, at 12:25 p.m.
Tickets for the world’s most prestigious drag race can be purchased by calling the NHRA Ticket Sales Center at (800) 884-NHRA (6472), or online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.