DALLAS (Sept. 20) — As the No. 13 qualifier in the JEGS ProMod Challenge at the 23rd annual Super Start Batteries NHRA Nationals, Troy Coughlin and crew decided to go for broke in their first-round race against Kirk Kuhns. The decision paid off handsomely.

Although Kuhns blazed off the starting line of the Texas Motorplex with a.063- to .105-second reaction time advantage, which would normally spell doom for any opponent, Coughlin was able to quickly track him down in his JEGS.com ’68 Camaro and pass him for the win with the quickest pass of the entire opening session, a 6.010 at 237.00 mph.

Suffering from tire spin, Kuhns’ ride was no match for Coughlin’s exceptional effort and his 6.250 at 231.00 mph wasn’t even close, despite the head start.

“We’ve been pecking away at this thing and it finally responded,” Coughlin said. “To be honest, we made a bigger move than we had been and it was the right call. To run the quickest pass of the entire session is really encouraging. Now we need to do it three more times and win this race.

“It feels great to have finally found what this car wants. The key moving forward will be to make it repeat. Things are looking up and we’re thrilled.”

Coughlin advances to a quarterfinal match-up with former world champion Jay Payne, who opened with a huge upset win against Danny Rowe. Payne took the win with a 6.101 at 234.04 mph, despite being outrun by Rowe’s 6.066 at 237.80 mph. The difference was the reaction times, as Payne left with a .012 R/T against Rowe’s .081.

“We’ve got lane choice and a faster hot rod but Jay knows how to play the game,” Coughlin said. “We’ll need another great effort to beat him, but it can be done.”

The second round of Pro Mod eliminations should come around 1 p.m. Sunday.

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