NORWALK, Ohio (July 6) — JEGS.com driver Mike Coughlin ended a five-year drought at NHRA national events with a victory in Top Sportsman on Sunday in Norwalk.
The win was also part of a Coughlin family double-up, as older brother Troy won moments later in Pro Mod.
"It's a great day," Coughlin said. "I got to race with my brother Jeg and brother Troy and nephew T.J. That's kind of rare; we don't get to do that very often, so it's exciting."
Mike Coughlin's most recent national event win was 2009 in Columbus, Ohio, at the JEGS SPORTSNationals.
"In year's past I've never really done very much," Coughlin said. "I've been past the third round once at Norwalk in what seems like 30 years, so we finally got the monkey off my back and did good at Norwalk."
Coughlin advanced to the semifinals in Top Sportsman with round-wins on Saturday. In his first battle Sunday, Coughlin got the semifinal win over Dylan Stott when Stott turned on the red-light.
Coughlin was going to be tough to beat anyway, as he had a .019-second reaction time and made a pass of 6.778 seconds on his 6.70-second dial-in.
In the final against John Hochstedler, Coughlin had a .037 light to Hochstedler's .084. Hochstedler had the slower dial-in, so Coughlin's pass of 6.816 seconds on a 6.72 dial ran down Hochstedler's 7.040 on a 6.98 dial.
"They were all crucial rounds, but they were all different because the racetrack was in different shape on darned near every run," Coughlin said. "They were all crucial, but probably the key one was in the semifinals when (Stott) went red because that was a good tune-up for the next round."
Coughlin debuted a new Chevrolet Camaro last year, but after some early season struggles the team re-tooled the cockpit to Coughlin's liking. His driving this weekend, combined with the team's tuning ability, was the winning recipe.
"We struggled a bit with the setup on it," Coughlin said. "The racetrack was really tricky for us. Greg Cody, Tony Collier, Rick Rossiter, and Justin Beaver did a helluva job of keeping this car running. It was a very tricky track surface, and these guys figured out how to get it done."