DELAWARE, Ohio (May 1) — Pro Modified veteran racer Troy Coughlin is hoping for a quick return to the JEGS ProMod Challenge after a first-round accident last Saturday in Atlanta that totaled his Pontiac GTO. Coughlin was slightly dazed in the accident but otherwise unhurt. His Jerry Haas racecar wasn’t as lucky, although a post-race inspection shows the current safety specs worked perfectly in Coughlin’s favor.

“I’ve never felt safer in a racecar and the accident proved the faith I have in these cars, the NHRA rules, and this class in general is justified,” Coughlin said. “Everything worked exactly as advertised and the fact I got out of the car under my own power after such a hard hit is testament to everything we’ve worked towards in the area of driver safety.”

Coughlin was just a few hundred feet into his first-round race with Tony Pontieri when he encountered some severe tire shake. The extreme motion pushed him out of the groove where the car suddenly bolted to the right and into the retaining wall.

At first, Coughlin assumed he simply drove too far to try and power through the shake, but subsequent examinations of the onboard computer system show he lifted right away. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

“Some times you never find out what happened because when you look at the car and find things that are broken, you don’t know whether they were broken before or after you hit the wall,” Coughlin said. “We’re still going through the pieces to see if anything can be learned.

“I do know this; I had a very similar wreck in 1997 in my Pro Stock car and I had a concussion and damage to my helmet and it was a big deal. The fact I’m ready to climb back in a car five days after this wreck says a lot.”

Coughlin was quick to credit Jerry Haas Race Cars, his ISP pour-in-place racing seat, and his R3 head-and-neck device from Safety Solutions for his well being.

Jay and Shelly Payne, Al Billes, Danny Rowe, Chuck Ford, and Andy McCoy all offered substitute racecars for Coughlin to borrow but he didn’t want to upset anyone’s plans so he decided to find his own ride.

“We’re searching the country for a replacement car to use because it’s going to take Jerry eight to 10 weeks to make a new car for us,” Coughlin said. “Then we’re going to make sure it’s as safe as the old one before we race. I do wish to credit NHRA for making us adhere to the rules in place because they work.

“I also want to thank all of my fellow racers for their support and help. That’s what makes drag racing so special.

“We’ll be back by Bristol if all goes as planned. That’s just two weeks away so we have some work to do but we just don’t want to miss any more than we have to. I’ve been cleared by NHRA doctors and my own personal physician to race so I want to get back on the horse as soon as possible and put this whole deal behind me.”

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