DELAWARE, Ohio (April 18) — It’s a little more than a month after the start of the 2007 AMS Pro Mod Challenge series and Troy Coughlin is finally set to debut his turbo-charged Pontiac GTO Pro Mod. It’s not the ideal starting point for the decorated 42-year-old veteran racer, but things don’t always go as planned in the unpredictable world of professional drag racing.

Instead of entering this weekend’s Cajun SPORTSnationals at No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, La., near Baton Rouge, with two races under his belt, like the rest of his Pro Mod peers, Coughlin is showing up at his family business’ first premier race of the year with a completed untested hot rod.

“We had high hopes at the start of the year and we couldn’t wait to test our new car,” Coughlin said. “But we quickly found out the new turbo-charged configuration just didn’t agree with the chassis combination we had. It was very disappointing to put so much time and effort into something and then struggle the way we did. But this group of guys never wavered; they just kept after it and worked through the problems.

“The final result is we basically rebuilt the car from the ground up. We’re using different turbo chargers, a completely different suspension system, different exhaust, you name it and we probably changed it out. As much as we wanted to start in Gainesville (Fla.) with everyone else, it just wasn’t in the cards.”

To help in their preparation this time through, Coughlin and crew contacted some of the best Super Street Outlaw racers in the country to pick their brains about the best way to apply the enormous horsepower they were generating to the racetrack.

“Those Outlaw racers are running 6.6s at 230 mph on 10-and-a-half inch tires,” Coughlin said. “We figured they’d have some real good advice for us and we were right.

“Even so, this weekend’s race will be the first time this car has gone down the track. Thankfully, it’s not an AMS race, we’re more of an exhibition class at this event, so there isn’t any pressure. Still, we want to do well and I think we’ll have some fun.”

Coughlin hopes a big start at this weekend’s race will quickly get his team up to speed in anticipation of the national event in Atlanta one weekend later. That event represents the third of 10 races on the AMS Pro Mod Challenge series.

“We’re probably a longshot to win the championship already but there’s no reason we can’t win some races and see what happens,” Coughlin said. “The competition is brutal in Pro Mod but we’ve already had a battle on our hands this year so we’re tough. I’m excited to get started.”

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