HOUSTON (May 19) — Fresh off his second final-round appearance of the NHRA season, second-year Pro Stock driver Troy Coughlin Jr. has his sights firmly set on bagging his first victory in the factory hot rod class at this weekend’s Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil in Baytown, Texas.
After watching rookie Dallas Glenn collect his first Wally trophy just a few days ago in the finale of the Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, Coughlin had a front-row seat to the thrill and excitement of scoring a national event win. Now he’s dead-set on earning his own Pro Stock race title to his eight other national event wins, which were earned in Top Alcohol Dragster (3), Super Gas (3), and Super Comp (2).
“Dallas is a good person, a very hard worker, and someone who came up through the Sportsman ranks like me so I was happy for him,” said Coughlin, finished just .010 seconds behind Glenn in Charlotte. “At the same time, watching him celebrate gave me some extra energy to win one for the JEGS.com Elite Motorsports race team. We’ve been to two finals in the first four races of the year so we obviously have a car that can win. We just need to get it done.”
To that end, Coughlin and crew stayed an extra day at zMax Dragway to better match their current tune-up to the engine advancements the in-house motor program at Elite Performance has made in the past few weeks. They’ll need to be sharp right out of the trailer in Houston as pending weather forecasts have forced officials to shorten the race to just two days, meaning each team will have only two rounds to qualify their racecars.
“What we’ve seen every race is some very stacked fields,” Coughlin said. “All the cars from top-to-bottom are running extremely close times. That puts a premium on the drivers being as close to perfect as possible when they execute a run, even in qualifying. It’s really how drag racing should be, where anyone can win at any time.”
Houston Raceway Park powered by Pennzoil has been kind to the Coughlin family through the years. Troy Jr.’s uncle Jeg Coughlin Jr. won the Pro Stock class four times in the past (1997, 1998, 2000, and 2010), while his uncle John Coughlin took a divisional Super Gas win at the facility in 1995.
This track is owned and operated by the Angels, a family immersed in the sport of drag racing, just like the Coughlin clan.
“Houston is a great town with very knowledgeable drag racing fans, plus the Angels are big into motorsports and have made their racetrack one of the most fan-friendly and racer-friendly stops on tour,” Troy Jr. said. “I know I have a lot of great memories from there when I was a kid and I’m ready to make some more this weekend.
“They used to hold a pre-season test session called the Pro Stock Super Bowl, which gave everyone a chance to test under real race conditions. I remember my dad (Troy Sr.) and Uncle Jeg posting some big numbers during those deals because the weather was usually so perfect in January. If we can avoid the rain we should be able to put on a great show. I’m ready and our team is ready.”