CHARLOTTE (Sept. 13) – Troy Coughlin and the Pro Mod team are anxious to continue their learning curve with their new racecar at this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals at zMax Dragway.

Coughlin unveiled the Jerry Bickel-built ’68 Camaro at Indianapolis in the most recent race, and he qualified No. 10 before falling in the first round. The Chevrolet has a 504-cubic inch engine with a Precision Turbo turbocharger, a combination that is relatively new to the Pro Mod class.

“It should be a little better,” Coughlin said of this weekend’s race. “When we go to Charlotte, we will have improved, unless we found other things that need to be tuned. It’s kind of a work in progress. This is not brand new, but it’s still a pretty new combination.”

Crew chief Jake Hairston and the rest of the team – Bryan Metzenheim, Nick Gaylord and Mike Rees – continue to learn the car. Finding the right combination to go fast is difficult in any NHRA class, but the Pro Mod cars seem to be the most recalcitrant.

But Coughlin and the team will keep working until they get it right.

“Jake and Bryan are as good as anyone tuning on this car,” Coughlin said. “We should be strong in Charlotte.”

This week’s stop is one of the favorites of any competitor in NHRA, as zMax Dragway is one of the nicer facilities on the circuit.

“I love the track,” Coughlin said. “What can you say about Bruton Smith and the family that puts together that race track. It’s definitely a first-class facility, and NHRA does an awesome job of prepping it. Charlotte and Concord are pretty convenient to the race track, from groceries to restaurants to whatever. It’s all right there. That’s what makes it cool for us. It’s simple. And a great place, with a lot of fans.”

Pro Mod qualifying begins with two sessions at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Friday.


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