ST. LOUIS (Sept. 28) – Pro Mod driver Troy Coughlin enjoys winning rounds, but he'd like to do it in a little less spectacular fashion.

Coughlin, the defending Pro Mod champion, won his first-round matchup with Mike Janis in the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals on Saturday at Gateway Motorsports Park despite nearly losing control of his turbocharged Corvette at half-track.

Coughlin, the No. 8 qualifier, also had problems in his qualifying pass earlier Saturday.

"I don't know where it's all coming from," Coughlin said. "It's been a handful lately. The first half of the year, we probably made a million runs from end to the other, and we go to Indy and haven't been able to hit a lick.

"It's not for a lack of hard work and a lot of labor. The guys are working hard to get it all figured out, which we will. We'll keep fighting."

Coughlin left first on Janis in a battle among two drivers in the top four in the championship standings, and Janis immediately got in trouble. Coughlin's car never trailed, but at half-track, the Corvette kicked sideways as he fought to regain control.

"I thought he'd come around me," Coughlin said. "I backed it up between a quarter- and half-throttle for a while until the thing came down, and then I got back on it when I didn't see him. It really didn't go anywhere when I hit the gas, so I said, 'Something must be wrong.' We'll have to take it apart and work on it."

Coughlin's pass was 7.246 seconds at 143.38 mph, which was good enough to beat Janis' run of 11.096 seconds at 79.76 mph.

"That's what I said on the radio: 'At least we got the win,'" Coughlin said. "I'm not sure what happened to Mike. I knew he was going to be pretty tough; he's No. 2 in the points. We just got out there and the front end hiked up a little too high. We've got to get her under control.

"It's a work in progress, obviously, for some reason. We haven't found anything major wrong, but we've got a bolt in the wrong spot somewhere."

Coughlin earned the No. 8 qualifying spot with a pass of 5.944 seconds at 249.67 mph as the team bounced back from failing to qualify in Charlotte.

Next up for Coughlin in Sunday's second round is No. 1 qualifier Jim Laurita, who beat Steve Matusek in the first round.


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