CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 14) — The hits just keep coming for Troy Coughlin Jr. and his JEGS.com McPhillips Racing Top Alcohol Dragster team as the group raced to its 11th final round of the season Sunday at the 12th annual NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals. Just a week removed from securing the East Region championship, the team's second regional title in a row, Coughlin wasn't bettered until Round 4 when Megan Meyer squeezed out the win.
"Another incredible showing by the McP boys," Coughlin said. "These guys make so few mistakes it's just such a pleasure to be around such passionate crewmen. They put so much into everything they do and they just don't stop.
"To have had a season like this where we've won five times, including the national events in Reading and Norwalk, and adding six more runner-up results speaks directly about the guys in this pit. I'm honored to be their driver and no matter what I go on to do in my career, I'll always remember this group and these last two years."
Aside from Coughlin aforementioned national event wins in Reading, Pa., and Norwalk, Ohio, he also took home the hardware from divisional races in Atco, N.J., Bowling Green, Ky., and Dinwiddie, Va.
On Sunday, he came within .03 seconds of yet another win, which would have kept the national championship chase alive for at least another week, but Meyer's 5.149 at 280.60 mph in the money round was just enough to hold off Coughlin's 5.169 at 281.48 mph. With the win, Meyer clinched the Top Alcohol Dragster national title.
"Big congrats to the Meyer family and everyone on that team," Coughlin said. "They worked hard all season and earned the right to be called champions. It's been an honor battling with them and I look forward to fighting it out with them again next season."
Coughlin beat Earl Nichols Jr. with a 5.196 at 273.44 mph to Nichol's 5.515 at 263.98 mph, Jackie Fricke with a 5.207 at 278.17 mph to her 5.488 at 269.51 mph and Josh Hart with a 5.181 at 277.43 mph to Hart's 5.312 at 275.51 mph to have a chance a Meyer. He also set low elapsed time of the meet (5.126 seconds) and top speed (282.66 mph) during qualifying.
Coughlin's uncles, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Mike Coughlin, bowed out in the second rounds of Pro Stock and Top Dragster, respectively.
After qualifying a lofty No. 2 for the second straight playoff race, Jeg Jr. leaves Charlotte wondering what he needs to do to win his second race of the year.
Jeg Jr.'s bright pink JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro carried him to an easy first-round win against Val Smeland, 6.523 at 211.66 mph to Smeland's 7.154 at 152.45 mph. But against Kramer he left -.004 seconds before the green light, negating his quicker elapsed time of 6.532 at 211.63 mph and giving the free pass to Kramer's 6.539 at 211.06 mph.
Jeg Jr. remains in sixth place, 111 points behind leader Erica Enders, his teammate at Elite Motorsports.
In Top Dragster action, Mike breezed past Patty Fisher with a 6.259-second pass on a 6.15 dial but stumbled against Kevin Brannon, who edged him by .004 seconds.