NORWALK, Ohio (June 21) — Two-time and reigning Pro Mod champion Troy Coughlin of Delaware, Ohio, says this year's stop in Northeast Ohio is coming at the perfect time for his JEGS.com Chevrolet Corvette race team.
Coughlin, who earned the J&A Services NHRA Pro Mod crown in both 2012 and 2015, has a budding love affair with Bill Bader's beautiful facility in his home state, having won the Norwalk trophy in 2014 and coming within a whisker of doing the same in 2012.
"We only have 10 races on the Pro Mod schedule so victories are even more precious to us," Coughlin said. "To have won here in 2014, in our back yard, it was a pretty incredible deal; Definitely a highlight of my career.
"We always pack this place out with friends and family since it's so close to home and of course we get wonderful support from so many of our 350-plus associates at JEGS. We're the lucky ones that get to go out and race but we couldn't do it without all of them so whenever we can share a race weekend, it's just a hoot. We love it."
Just a few days back, on June 12, Coughlin scored his 12th national event victory when he raced to the winner's circle in Englishtown, N.J. He sees a lot of similarities between Old Bridge Township Raceway Park and this weekend's venue, and he hopes that translates to another win.
"The Napp family (owners of Englishtown) and the Bader family (owners of Norwalk) are both long-time NHRA track owners who go out of their way to make the racers and the fans feel special," Coughlin said. "These historic racing families are what make our sport so great. I wished we raced Norwalk three or four times a year. It's always in great shape and the stands are packed.
"We've got a good, fast hot rod right now and that certainly adds to the excitement level. I'm looking forward to getting up there and duking it out with all the other fast cars we have in Pro Mod. It's just a matter of putting this thing back in line and continue where we left off at the last race.
"It's already fast, so it's a matter of getting things cleaned up and keeping this train going."
As always, Coughlin was quick to credit his crew, which consists of tuner Steve Petty and wrenches Kyle Pettis and Mike Rees.
"Sometimes the guys kid around about it, but they really deserve to be the ones standing in front of the microphone, telling our story," Coughlin said. "I think that would be really cool. They work their butts off. When we get home and get things done, I always say, 'You guys should go do something for yourselves for a couple days before we get back at it.' It's a good group of guys, and I'm blessed to have them. It's probably one of the best teams we've put together in many years."
Pro Mod qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4:15 and 7 p.m. ET, Friday, and 2:15 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations start with Round 1 at 5 p.m., Saturday, and resume at 12:45 p.m., Sunday.