CHICAGO (July 20) — Troy Coughlin has been drag racing for two decades but the veteran racer admits he may never have had a weekend like the one he finished up Sunday evening at Chicago’s Route 66 Raceway.

Coughlin swept the honors at the fourth annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing, setting an NMCA national record, claiming low qualifier honors, and mowing down the 16-car elimination field for the victory.

“I don’t know what else we could have done,” Coughlin said during a joyous winner’s circle celebration. “I have to give my guys credit. They had this car prepared so perfectly every single round and all I had to do as a driver was not screw anything up and we knew we could win. It feels darn good to be holding this trophy right now.

“When we raced over here a few years back there were probably two or three cars capable of winning the title. Now there are eight, nine, maybe 10 cars that are right there at the forefront. It makes this win very special. To have a guy like (reigning Edelbrock Pro Street world champion) Vinnie Budano come over and shake your hand and tell you that you’re doing a great job is something. I’m on top of the world right now.”

Although the official points haven’t been released pending verification, Coughlin could have passed Budano for the Pro Street lead, especially considering the bonus points Coughlin earned for setting a national record. Budano lost in the semifinals.

Consistency was key in Coughlin’s win. Aside from his moon-shot world record pass of 6.279 seconds at 223.76 mph in his JEGS.com Pontiac GXP, all of his qualifying and elimination runs were in a narrow window between 6.31 and 6.34 seconds.

In fact, Coughlin’s mount was so consistent that three of the four men he raced in eliminations took a chance at the Christmas Tree and ended up disqualifying themselves with red-light starts.

His biggest threat came in the money round against Chris Rini but Coughlin was up to the task, posting a .032-second reaction time just ahead of Rini’s .038, and then riding his advantage all the way down the track to win with a 6.321 at 223.48 mph to Rini’s 6.340 at 219.70 mph.

“We got that far we couldn’t give it up in the final,” Coughlin said. “I’ll tell you, we went testing up in Wisconsin and just found a tune-up that just agrees with this car and motor combination. All we did this weekend was finesse the timing and fuel management. This car just repeats like nothing I’ve ever driven before and we’re getting better at working on it. I’m so excited for the second half of the season.”

This weekend’s event marked the midway point of the seven-race Edelbrock series.

 
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Scott "Woody" Woodruff
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