HOUSTON (April 26) — Pro Mod driver Troy Coughlin knows the 366ci small block powerplant in his JEGS.com Pontiac GTO puts him at a disadvantage to all the other drivers competing in this weekend’s Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series race at Royal Purple Raceway, but the world champion drag racer believes he can hold his own during the 24th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals.

“We’re doing about all we can with this combination,” Coughlin said. “Our goal at this point is to kind of survive and stay in the mix while we wait for our new car to get here. If we can qualify and win some rounds Houston like we did in Vegas, I think we’ll all be happy with that.”

Switching to a turbocharged configuration under the guidance of crew chief Jake Hairston, Coughlin has been driving Hairston’s old racecar this season while he awaits the arrival of a similarly built Chevrolet Camaro from Jerry Bickel’s shop in St. Louis. The new Camaro will have the capacity to hold a larger engine.

“The biggest difference between the cars is the new one will be much lighter, and it will hold the bigger motor, two things that should make us half a tenth quicker right away,” Coughlin said. “Chassis-wise, they seem very much the same, which will really help with the transition. The gear ratios, transmissions, and clutches are the same.

“We’re aiming to have it ready to race by Atlanta (May 13-15). That’s not very far off so we’ll need to work hard to make it happen, but we’re hopeful. In the meantime, we’ll keep racing this GTO and doing our best.”

A past champion in NMCA Pro Street competition, Coughlin currently holds down the 12th spot in the Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. He’s just 20 points, or one round of action, out of the tightly-bunched top 10. This weekend’s race is the third of 10 on the 2011 schedule.

“Houston is one of my favorite tracks,” Coughlin said. “We should have a good weekend as long as we continue to squeeze every drop of horsepower out of this thing.”

Qualifying for the Spring Nationals begins with two sessions at 1 and 4:15 p.m. Friday.


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